Community support offers comfort for Coast Guard families

Julia LeDoux
January 18, 2019 - 2:58 pm

U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters

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The community is rallying behind Coast Guard families who aren’t receiving paychecks as a result of the ongoing government shutdown.

Katie Walvatne, president of the Coast Guard Spouses Association,  said that a coalition of non-profit Coast Guard groups have opened a pop-up food pantry at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut.

“We have been so fortunate that the community has reached out,” she said.

Due to financial hardships caused by the shutdown, now entering its 28th day, Walvatne and her husband, who has served in the Coast Guard for nearly 15 years, have utilized the food pantry. The couple also has a young daughter.

“I never thought our family would need a food pantry,” she said.

VIDEO: Food Panttry Busy 

Walvatne works part-time as a teacher and put her career on the backburner in order to support her husband’s military service who despite not being paid has to still show up to work. 

“He took an oath, he’s showing up every day,” she said.

 RELATED: Coast Guard: It's On The House 

As president of the CGSA, Walvatne said she’s heard a lot of stories from her fellow spouses detailing financial hardships and the anxiety of not knowing when they will receive their next paycheck. But, even with that, she said community support for Coastie families around the country has been “overwhelming.”

“As a spouse, my morale has been hit, but the community rallying behind us has really helped,” she said.

RELATED: Fort Belvoir Enlisted Spouse Club Supports Coast Guard

The CGSA is partnering with the Coast Guard Chief Petty Officers Association and other organizations to provide financial and other assistance to impacted service members and their families. Walvatne said community members have been making anonymous cash donations, dropping off gas and gift cards, food and other essentials to help lessen the burden currently being felt throughout the Coast Guard community.

“We come together, we support each other,” she said. “We are still finding hope. We keep moving forward.”

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