Where should wage-deprived government employees turn to during the longest shutdown in U.S. history? To Sonoma, that’s where.

Last month, in the throes of the 35-day partial shutdown over border-wall funding, Delicious Dish catering began offering free pickup meals-for-four to those missing paychecks due to the government stalemate – no questions asked. The home-style haute-cuisine company’s CEO Lauren Cotner said one comment she’d heard from one furloughed family was that they were embarrassed.

“And they shouldn’t be,” said Cotner.

“As someone who had to receive benefits when I was a young adult I can attest to the fact that many times those boxes are filled with PB, grape jelly and white bread,” said Cotner. “Families deserve healthy, home-cooked meals.”

Added Cotner: “There may never be a time in Sonoma - or California, for that matter – again, where there are people without a need.”

And that time almost certainly won’t be after Feb. 15 – the coming funding deadline that will quite possibly set off the next government shutdown.


Last week Sonoma resident Bob received a phone call from a man saying he was from the Social Security Administration – telling Bob they had a “warrant out on your arrest” unless he transferred $15,000 to an account. Bob’s no fool, but this seemed legit. “The phone number on the caller ID screen made it appear the caller was from the police department,” said Bob, leading him to assume the caller was genuinely from a law enforcement agency. Alas, Bob was being conned.

Remember folks: Neither law enforcement nor a government agency will ever call and request money over the phone. If you suspect a scam, get a call back number and keep it in case it is needed by the police. For those still unsure of the legitimacy of a call, request information be sent through the mail, but don’t provide your address – a legitimate caller would already have that. – Jason Walsh