How to help Coast Guard families during government shutdown

Kaylah Jackson
January 10, 2019 - 11:54 am

(U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Johanna Strickland/Released)


If you’re not in the mood to sell your valuables or walk the dogs in the neighborhood while the government is holding your paycheck, (as the Coast Guard has suggested of its employees) there are actual organizations that exist to help during a time of emergency.

The shutdown, which began on December 21, has since affected thousands of federal works from various agencies like the Department of Justice and the Federal Drug Administration. While the Department of Defense remains fully-funded, the men and women in uniform serving in the Coast Guard have been left out to dry.

Related: For Coast Guard family stationed overseas, shutdown is doubly stressful

Thanks to a one-time action, the agency was funded through the end of December 2018, allowing members to receive their paychecks. However, the shutdown continues and it’s still unclear if members of the Coast Guard will receive their checks by the next pay period, January 15.

As a result, food banks, local businesses, and military support groups like Coast Guard Mutual Assistance (CGMA) have stepped in to fill gaps where families may need it most.

Related: Food Banks prepare to support Coast Guard families during shutdown

“We’re focusing on our most junior workforce. We would love to help everyone. It takes about $150 million to pay the whole workforce and of course, we don’t have $150 million.” said CGMA Chief Executive Officer and retired Rear Admiral Cari Thomas. “The assistance is for E-5 and below, GS-6 and below or the wage grade equivalent of that of about $2,600 a month or less in income.”

Thomas implores those in need to contact their local Coast Guard Mutual Assistance Representative who can help.

The organization is using the resources it can to provide aid but they also ask that communities and businesses do what they can.

“From free food for Coast Guardsmen to filling up a tank of gas, if possible or helping out with free haircuts, anyway that they can help the Coast Guard men and women put off and defer what they would normally need to spend money on, community involvement is really important,” said Thomas.

As of January 9, the Army Emergency Relief, Navy/Marine Corps Relief Society, Air Force Aid Society, and the American Red Cross are not authorized to offer any assistance to Coast Guard personnel.

Related: New Year, same worry over paychecks for Coast Guard families

For more information about how you can donate to the Coast Guard Mutual Assistance, visit the donor section of their website

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