Flatts and Sharpe Music Company owner Chris Bell was inspired when she saw that St. Gertrude’s food pantry was offering help to federal workers who are not being paid during the government shutdown.
“They are just another small neighborhood organization that is doing something, and I thought, we’re a small neighborhood organization, we should do something too,” she said.
Bell will offer free lessons for the month of February to children of anyone affected by the shutdown.
“There’s no reason that children should suffer,” she said.
Flatts and Sharpe has about 600 music students between their Rogers Park (6749 N. Sheridan) and Norwood Park locations, Bell said. So far only four students have applied for the free lessons. But that doesn’t mean the response was small.
“For every one person who requested help, there were about 30 people who replied that they would donate for scholarship. I thought that was so great,” said Bell.
Government workers are expected to be paid for the time they miss from the shutdown. But Bell said she won’t ask them to pay for the free lessons.
“No way. They are going to have enough catch-up on their hands as it is,” she said.
Bell noted that one of her students, a Rogers Park resident, has both parents working for the federal government. Nationally, about 800,000 workers are not being paid during the shutdown. Many of them, including TSA officers and air traffic controllers, are still required to work.
Bell said Flatts and Sharpe offers lessons from a wide variety of instruments.
“Everything except bagpipes and the harp,” she said with a laugh.