TAMPA, Fla. — Organizations across Tampa Bay are coming together to help U.S. Coast Guard families. With more than 42,000 members nationwide, they are the only branch of the military impacted by the shutdown because they fall under the Department of Homeland Security.
While everyone from private businesses to faith organizations is doing what they can to help, wives of Coast Guard members here in the Tampa Bay area have started grassroots efforts to make sure local Coast Guard families are taken care of. Alexa Parker is one of them. Knowing the strain the partial government shutdown has put on local families wife Alexa Parker made a simple post on Facebook.
“I posted it so my family and friends could see it. When one of them asked for me to make my post public, it started getting shared.”
Parker’s Post let people know of a pantry set up on base for members and families. Within a couple of hours, donations came pouring in.
People have given everything from cereal and canned goods, to, diapers, dish soap and paper towels. Many of the household items aren’t expensive, but without any money coming in for some of these families living paycheck-to-paycheck, this is a huge help.
“It hit hard. The holidays came, and then there were no paychecks,” Parker said.
Parker says she’s touched by the community support.
“Even people from far away. Family from out of state have been sending us donations through Amazon and money through Venmo asking me to buy donations for them. It’s been awesome.”
Even local non-profits have reached out to donate. Many people are donating money to the Chief Petty Officer’s Association, Suncoast Chapter. Donations are being accepted through PayPal.
With no end in sight to this partial government shutdown, the hope is the community will continue to help these families and all federal workers in need.
“It’s nice to know people are willing to be there,” Parker said.
Florida Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott are co-sponsoring a bill called the Pay Our Coast Guard Act ensuring all members of the Coast Guard would be paid during the shutdown.
Area businesses are also offering freebies for all federal workers impacted by the shutdown. It includes everything from meals at restaurants, to shows and even discounts on electric bills. Click here for a list.
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