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Free groceries for U.S. Coast Guard members during government shutdown

Bayside Market offering free groceries for U.S. Coast Guard members during government shutdown.

GRAND TRAVERSE COUNTY, Mich., (WPBN/WGTU) -- Now in its tenth day, the government shutdown continues to have an impact on the men and women who serve in the U.S. Coast Guard.

While funding was found to get the coast guard their paychecks through Monday, their next pay day is up in the air.

Now businesses are teaming up with community members to make sure coast guard members don't go without.

"There are not going to be any military people that are going to come and say 'hey I need help'," says Debra Ankerson, American Red Cross Service to Armed forces Agent. "They don’t do that, not out of training but just out of professionalism, and that's why we need to go up to them."

People in the community are worried about coast guard members who, as of right now, don't know when their next paycheck will be.

That's why local businesses are hoping to ease some of the burden, by offering free groceries.

"We know they’re not getting paychecks right now, but that’s not gonna stop them from going out and helping me if I’m swimming out there in the freezing waters and screw something up," says Dan Summers, professional food and beverage consultant at Bayside Market. "They are there to help us and we want to be there to help them too.”

Thanks to monetary and food donations from other businesses and generous customers, the Bayside Market in Traverse City has an account for coast guard members - all they have to do is show up and show their coast guard I.D.

"We’re trying to do everything we can to help," says Summers. "They can come in and pick out whatever they need and just draw from the account until it’s gone and what it’s gone it’ll be 25% off.”

While there is a rule through the coast guard legal system that they can't accept money or gift cards over a certain amount, Ankerson says that doesn't have to stop us from being friendly neighbors.

“Buy them a gift card, take them groceries, offer to watch their children, give them diapers or formula - whatever it takes," says Ankerson. "That’s what we are supposed to do, they are here for us and we need to be there for them in any way we can and just be a big support system to them.”

If you'd like to help out, you can donate cash or check to Bayside Market or there is an account set up under Bayside Market for the Coast Guard at Traverse Catholic Federal Credit Union.

Summers says they will continue to let coast guard members get free groceries until all the money from the fund is gone.

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