NORTH BEND — Almost 200 U.S. Coast Guard members and their families received food assistance yesterday.
Pelican Harbor Food Bank usually holds a large free food giveaway for area residents at the Pony Village Mall, but coordinated to move it instead to the Air Station Sector North Bend so that working Coast Guardsmen could participate.
Coast Guardsmen move pallets of food donated Tuesday morning to the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station North Bend as the government shutdown continu…
According to LTJG Wade Myers, Pelican Harbor donated approximately 15 pallets of food. Leftovers have gone to a pantry that’s been established at the station to help members who may need extra food for their families as they work unpaid during the ongoing government shutdown.
Pelican Harbor co-founder Laurel Browman told The World that once she and the crew at the food bank heard the Coast Guard was going unpaid, they had to do something.
“Life’s not pleasant without a check,” she said.
Initially, she tried to get to the Air Station but couldn’t find a way in. She went to the boat station in Charleston and drove around the block until some Coast Guardsmen in the boat area told her how to get in. From there, she spoke with another member who passed it up to the commander for approval.
“They checked out the warehouse, said what would be appropriate, and when we pulled the truck out of Portland full of food it had all kinds of lovely stuff on it from frozen soup to fruit,” Browman said.
Other residents have been stepping up as well to help the Coast Guard during the shutdown, including residents in Winchester Bay who delivered food earlier this week to Station Umpqua River.
According to Myers, the Air Station had a town hall meeting on Monday evening where their commander put out information for available resources. Though assistance can be found for them at places like the Coast Guard Mutual Assistance, community resources are also a reliable help for members like Pelican Harbor.
However, “Coast Guard members are not allowed to solicit assistance,” he said.
“Any federal agency has ethics rules because we are representative of the government,” Myers explained. “A Coast Guard member can be helped if someone sees them in uniform. They can accept donations like a meal of up to $20 on occasion and a $50 annual cap.”
Donations must pass the ethics committee, but local folks can still help so long as that help meets the military branch’s checks and balances system.
Food may be dropped off, but Myers asks that he be called prior so they know who it is coming from. He can be reached at 541-756-9669.
“Ongoing support is welcome,” he said.
If the government shutdown continues, Browman said this large food donation will happen again in two weeks or sooner if needed.
“It was our pleasure to do this for the Coast Guard,” she said. “They’ve saved so many of our friends over the years and this needed to be done.”