ILWACO — Community organizations are gathering to support U.S. Coast Guard families affected by the month-long partial government shutdown. Coast Guard employees are not being paid but are still expected to work. There are about 600 active-duty members of the Coast Guard serving in Sector Columbia River. Of these, 60 work at Station Cape Disappointment, plus 54 at the National Motor Lifeboat School.
Below are events, fundraisers and resources for individuals and families affected by the shutdown.
Project Community Connect will be Thursday, Jan. 24, from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The event is at the BPOE 1937 Elks Lodge, 110 N. Pacific Highway in Long Beach.
Pacific Transit will offer free rides to the event via Route 20, which covers the Long Beach Peninsula.
“The event isn’t just for the homeless, it’s for anyone who needs it,” said event coordinator Bill Buck.
People can get connected with a variety of services such as medical, dental and eye exams; haircuts; identification replacement; and education, employment, housing, family, and legal services. Attendees also will be able to get personal care items, clothing and a free warm meal provided by His Supper Table.
About 40 service providers will be at the event. In 2018, 155 event attendees benefited through a total of 1,008 services and referrals.
On Saturday, Jan. 26, Coast Guard spouses will gather for a pop-up makers market. At the market, crafts such as wood carving and essential oils will be sold as part of an effort to earn money during the shutdown. The market will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Fort George Lovell Brewery & Taproom, 426 14th Street in Astoria.
On Feb. 5, local service providers will be available from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at the Pacific County Health Department. The event is a multiple-agency support program where residents can access support for housing, mental health, employment and other services. The event occurs monthly on the first and third Tuesday. Those wanting more information should call 360-642-6100.
The district’s family resource coordinator, Elly Rosaire, works with families to find local offerings for services such as food support.
Rosaire is available by text at 360-214-0000, email at email@example.com or phone at 360-642-1100.
Students of single-income families whose wages are being withheld qualify for free breakfast and lunch. Students of two-income families may be eligible for free or reduced breakfast and lunch. Single-income families can get set up by calling their child’s school secretary.
Two-income families must fill out a new meal application either at their child’s school or online at https://www.ocean.k12.wa.us/page/179. The application should include the family’s single current income.
The district is deferring school fines and fees for families affected by the shutdown. The deferment will last until 90 days after the return of back-wages.
“We know with deferred wages, it will take time to get back to your normal family financial situation,” an OBSD press release states.
About $1,000 in donations has been raised through a fund at Brown’s Coastal Corner Market in Long Beach. The fund is being used to support Coast Guard employees stationed at Cape Disappointment.
“The crisis is not over,” said fund organizer Laurie Freeman. “The Coasties have already missed one paycheck. Until the government shutdown is over, they will likely continue working without pay. Please continue your support to this fund, local food banks or to the Lower Columbia Petty Officers Association.”
New Life Church in Ilwaco is collecting food, gift cards and hygiene items for Coast Guard families. Items can be picked up and dropped off by appointment or between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday. To make an appointment, call 360-642-3400.
The Pickled Fish, Adrift Hotel and Spa Lobby, Ashore Hotel Bar and Shelburne Hotel Pub are offering federal government employees a family discount. Employees can purchase drinks and food and receive 40 percent of their purchase.
“Everyday American families — our parents, our friends, our neighbors, our communities — go to work everyday not knowing how they’re gonna be able to pay the bills,” a company press release states. “The people who serve this country — who protect our coasts, our national parks, who keep us safe at the airport — are being used as bargaining chips.”