PORT TOWNSEND — Donations were being sought Tuesday for federal workers in Jefferson County affected by the 32-day-old partial government shutdown.
A Gofundme site had been established for the 11 U.S. Coast Guard personnel assigned to the Port Townsend-based Cutter Osprey and their families.
Money collected at tinyurl.com/PDN-Fund-CG will be donated to Coast Guard personnel as it arrives.
“They need it now,” said Debora Mead, who started the fundraiser Thursday.
As of Tuesday, Mead’s Gofundme page had raised $2,555 toward a $11,000 goal.
“Like many other government workers, these service members are working without pay due to the government shutdown,” Mead said on the Gofundme site.
“Your funds will help pay rent, feed families, keep the heat on.”
“These people protect our waterways and community in our time of need,” Mead added. “We can help them now in their time of need.”
Enough money had been raised Thursday to purchase $100 grocery store gift cards for each service member.
The gift cards were made possible by donations from Safe Harbor Recovery Center, AA Complete Solutions and local families, Mead said.
“On top of that we have begun receiving gift cards from local businesses, Pane d’Amore and Elevated Ice Cream and the Bayview Restaurant,” Mead wrote in a Friday post.
In a Tuesday interview, Mead said the local businesses she contacted immediately responded to the call.
“They all gave gift certificates and grocery cards,” she said.
Mead said she launched the fundraiser after she and her husband, T.J. Mead, spoke with a friend who had served in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War.
“I’m pretty pleased,” Debora Mead said of the early response to her fundraiser.
“People are getting it.”
Meanwhile, Cathie Baker said she had grown frustrated with the government shutdown and decided to take action.
“This isn’t about whether you’re a Republican or Democrat, it’s about our local community coming together during this time,” Baker wrote in a letter
Baker said she made arrangements with the Port Townsend Safeway and QFC stores to allow customers to purchase gift cards for affected U.S. Coast Guard personnel.
“Anyone can purchase a gift card, but they must indicate that it is for the USCG,” Baker said.
Managers of the two grocery stores verified Tuesday that donations can be made at their respective customer service desks. Special envelopes are provided.
Additionally, donations can be made at PT Shirt Co., Pacific Traditions, Conservatory Coastal Home, The Green Eyeshade, Maestrale, Clothes Horse, The Spice and Tea Exchange, Bayview Restaurant and Waterfront Pizza, Baker said.
Elsewhere, the four food banks in Jefferson County are open to furloughed federal workers.
Shirley Moss, head of the Port Townsend Food Bank, said that none of the Jefferson County food banks are planning special distributions for federal workers, but that they are available during regular hours.
No paperwork is needed.
“Just come,” Moss said.
“We want anybody and everybody who needs to use us to use us,” Moss said. “We will always have enough food for anyone who walks through the door.”
Moss said that the food banks don’t have as much produce this time of year as in the summer, but that still there is plenty for everyone.
Here are the Jefferson County food banks’ hours:
• Brinnon, 151 Corey St. — 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday.
• Port Townsend, 1925 Blaine St. — 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday for families and individuals and 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday for seniors 65 and older.
• Quilcene, 29452 U.S. Highway 101 — 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday.
• Tri-Area, 760 Chimacum Road — 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday.
For information on the Jefferson County food banks, visit www.jeffersoncountyfoodbanks.org.
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at [email protected].
Executive Editor Leah Leach contributed to this report.