Lending a Helping Hand During Shutdown

WAYMART, Pa. -- Like most people before a snowstorm, George and Ellen Murray went grocery shopping.

They joined hundreds of others inside the busy Shoprite near Brodheadsville grabbing food off the shelves, but instead of taking for themselves, they were collecting for members of the United States Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard is the only branch of the military not getting paid during the partial government shutdown.

“They are still out on active duty performing searches, border security, their regular Coast Guard duties, and they haven’t been paid since January 1,” said George Murray.

Through donations from American Legion Post 903 near Mount Pocono, Murray had carts full of stuffing mix, Tastykakes, and canned goods.

The items will be sent to Philadelphia to help Coast Guard employees get by.

“I talked to the command master chief the other day, and he said any donations of food would be greatly appreciated,” said Murray.

Murray, who spent 20 years in the Navy, knows how hard it must be not getting paid.

“These are not getting paid a lot of money, so they are trying to stretch their budget, and they haven't been paid in 19 days,” said Murray.

The spirit of helping others continued at the Waymart Fire Company in Wayne County.

A group including spouses of corrections officers banded together to help workers at the nearby federal prison. They also missed a recent paycheck.

Food, cereal, and pet food went to families affected by the partial government shutdown.

“People are working without pay. You have savings, and those savings are gone within two weeks because you do not know what is going to happen, and people have savings, well, that pays your mortgage,” said Chelsea Gabell, the wife of a corrections officer.

Both groups plan to keep helping families affected by the shutdown for as long as it lasts.

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