About 43,000 Coast Guard service members and employees nationwide continue to work during the government shutdown, including about 200 at the Coast Guard station in South Philadelphia on Columbus Boulevard.
Members of the Ancient Order of Hibernians/Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians are banding together to provide the local Coast Guard members with the essentials they need to keep providing for themselves and their families until the shutdown ends.
Nancy Dugan is a member of the LAOH at Division 39 in the Tacony neighborhood of Philadelphia. Her husband, Judge Patrick Dugan is an Army veteran, member of the 82nd Airborne Division in Philadelphia, and oversees Veterans Court in the city. He’s also a member of AOH Division 25. Nancy Dugan is a retired police officer, and their son is a Navy veteran who is a firefighter. “So, we ‘get’ service,” she says. “This hits close to home for us.”
Other service members continue to be paid because they operate under the Department of Defense, she says, but because the Coast Guard falls under the Department of Homeland Security, they’re not receiving a paycheck while the shutdown continues—even though they’re required to continue working.
“They just missed their first paycheck, and who knows when they’re going to get another one?” she says.
They probably don’t make a lot of money when they are getting paid, she adds, so they’re hurting.
The project began within the last few days. “Judge (James M.) DeLeon of Municipal Court is a liaison to the Coast Guard,” Dugan says. “He brought it to my husband’s attention, seeing if maybe he could get some help through Veterans Court. He brought the idea home to me, and we put it out to the AOH right away.”
The response so far has been incredibly encouraging.
“We got a few hundred dollars initially. We went shopping last night and bought a bunch of stuff. (List to follow.) My husband took it down to the base and dropped it off. I know that tomorrow, there’ll be a lot of stuff down there (at Division 39) because I’ve been getting emails and Facebook messages from people saying they’re going to contribute. We’ll also be going down there Saturday and Sunday because other people have been saying they’ll bring stuff this weekend. We’re also going to have an event tonight (Friday) with Jamison Celtic Rock, so we’re putting it out there and encouraging people to bring stuff.”
82nd Airborne members have chipped in with more than a thousand dollars, as well.
Those who want to contribute food and other provisions can drop their contributions off at AOH 39, 7229 Tulip Street, any day between noon and 9 p.m. To contribute cash, send a check to Nancy Dugan at 9712 Wynmill Road, Philadelphia, PA 19115. Make the check out to AOH Division 25.
For more information, you can also call Nancy Dugan at 215-669-3509 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s what’s needed:
- Gas cards (totaling no more than $20 each because of Coast Guard gift restrictions)
- Peanut butter
- Pasta sauce
- Canned vegetables
- Fruit juice (apple, grape, etc.)
- Macaroni and cheese
- Granola bars
- Boxed meals (Hamburger Helper, Chef Boyardee, etc.)
- Black beans
- Canned fruit
- Breakfast cereals (kid-friendly ones, such as Cheerios, are good)
- Breakfast bars
- Diapers (sizes 4, 5 and 6)
- Canned soups and stews
- Canned meat/tuna
- Cooking oil
- Toilet paper