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Community donates to Coast Guard families affected by government shutdown

U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City/Facebook
Coast Guard on patrol near Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

Two weeks into the government shutdown, some Michigan communities are coming together to support federal employees working without pay. One of the groups affected is the U.S. Coast Guard. Workers got their December paycheck on Monday, but they’re not sure when they’ll get their next one. 

In Traverse City people have stepped up to help them. Daniel Summers, professional food and beverage consultant of Bayside Market in Traverse City, says the store opened an account for Coast Guard employees on Sunday. People donate money to the account so employees can buy their own groceries. Summers says people have given thousands of dollars so far, and companies have donated deli meats and produce.

He says Bayside is also cooking lasagnas and other meals for Coast Guard employees to take home.

“We just want them to know that we care about them,” says Summers. “I mean this is very much a water-based community, and they’re always there watching and trying to keep us safe.”

The U.S. Coast Guard says 115 of its workers are based in Grand Traverse County. The Coast Guard says is still looking into whether employees can get donations without violating federal ethics laws.

Taylor Wizner covers heath, tourism and other news for Interlochen Public Radio.