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Feeding San Diego Distributes Food To Coast Guard Families During Shutdown

A Coast Guard service member receives food from Feeding San Diego at Coast Gu...

Credit: Feeding San Diego

Above: A Coast Guard service member receives food from Feeding San Diego at Coast Guard Air Station San Diego on January 23, 2019.

Thousands of federal workers, including members of the military, are continuing to work without pay as the government shutdown enters its second month.

Nationwide, 42,000 active duty Coast Guard service members and the 8,000 civilian employees who work with them have missed one paycheck. They are set to miss another on Feb. 1 if a compromise isn't reached. Many are away on deployments, leaving spouses like Stephanie Siraco at home to figure out how to make ends meet.

"I think a lot of the stress comes from the uncertainty. We're military. We're a military family. We know how to prepare for things and we can handle uncertainty, but this is too much uncertainty," Siraco said.

RELATED: Furloughed Federal Employees Served Lunch Courtesy Of San Diego Restaurants

While the Coast Guard is part of the military, its funding comes from the Department of Homeland Security, one of the agencies that has not secured funding. On Wednesday, the hunger relief nonprofit Feeding San Diego distributed food to 500 Coast Guard families.

"These Coast Guard members are out there in the dark of night, in rough seas interdicting drug smuggling boats. They’re assigned to forward combat areas and areas where other military troops are engaged. They are engaged in rescuing people from distressed watercraft and saving their lives, so they’re doing this vitally important work everyday and now they’re doing it without pay and that should make all of us just feel a sense of shame," Feeding San Diego CEO Vince Hall said.

Siraco said while many of the Coast Guard families are facing uncertain times, she is touched by the generosity of the San Diego community.

"It is incredible to see how many people in our community have come out to help us and even just checking on us. They help in any way they can," she said.

Hall said Feeding San Diego has 250 food distribution sites throughout San Diego County, and anyone who faces food insecurity can visit for help.

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"Many of the families affected by the shutdown, whether it's Coast Guard or other federal agencies, are families who have never sought any form of food assistance in the past, so they don’t know the system, they don’t know the barriers, they don’t know if they’re taking food from somebody else, and I want to communicate to those families that they should absolutely come and get access to the food resources," he said. "There is more food in San Diego County than what is needed to feed everybody that lives here. It's just that 40 percent of our food every day gets wasted."

Thousands of Coast Guard service members are working without pay as the government shutdown continues.

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Feeding San Diego Distributes Food To Coast Guard Families During Shutdown


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Priya Sridhar
General Assignment Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI am a general assignment reporter for KPBS. In addition to covering the latest news and issues that are relevant to the San Diego community, I enjoy investigating consumer stories that can help San Diegans navigate their daily lives.

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