It’s a national issue affecting local families. Federal employees nationwide continue to go unpaid or out of work during the government shutdown. Now, community members are getting together to make a difference.
This week, active members of the U.S. Coast Guard missed their first paycheck during the government shutdown. Community members in South Padre Island and Port Isabel are looking to give back to those that serve and protect the area.
Bridget Hagerty, local organizer says, “We understand that you don’t want to be asking for help, but they are not asking. It’s us that are offering. It is us the community coming together.”
It’s a collaboration between the Port Isabel Food Pantry and concerned citizens. The plan is to gather donations such as nonperishable foods, baby supplies, or anything that could help feed local families.
“We’re asking folks in the community to bring additional supplies that aren’t covered by the food bank to Port Isabel at the food bank on Friday from 10:00 until noon and here at the SPI visitor center from 3:00 to 5:00 tomorrow on Friday.” Says Hagerty.
They’re not the only ones. This week the City of La Feria is looking to help all federal employees affected by the shutdown. In Los Fresnos they do not have a specific program set up, but they will help with utilities.
In Brownsville, the Public Utilities Board is also helping with extensions.
Ryan Greenfeld, Brownsville Public Utilities Board PIO says, “We have received some requests from federal employees for extensions. Those requests have been granted. We do ask that if you have been affected by the shutdown and would like an extension you do need to bring in a furlough letter or other type of proof that you’ve been affected by the shutdown.”
Meanwhile preparations continue for Coast Guard support. They are asking active members and their families to visit the Food Bank this Saturday or upcoming Tuesday.
A volunteer says, “Not looking it at it on the political end of it at all, I don’t care. If these people need help, I’m here to help you.”
Hagerty adds, “They’re working for us 24 hours a day. Right now they are working without pay. We saw an opportunity to help them when they’re helping us all the time.”
The collection for the U.S. Coast Guard will take place at the Port Isabel Food Bank tomorrow from 10 till noon. They will be at the South Padre Island Visitors Center from 3:00 till 5:00.