UPDATE: With the federal government's partial shutdown over, effective January 25, members of the U.S. Cosat Guard Manasquan River/Shark River has thanked the community for its "outpouring of generosity, compassion and support."

The partial government shutdown is hitting closer to home than many Jersey Shore residents may realize.

While operations continue as usual at both local U.S. Coast Guard stations — along the Shark River in Avon-by-the-Sea and in the Manasquan Inlet in Point Pleasant Beach — its members started working without getting paid on January 15 due to the shutdown.

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To support and give back to their “Coast Guard family,” the community-at-large is rallying around a donation drive spearheaded by Neptune resident Terry Halifko that is gaining steam on social media.

Nonperishable items and branded gift cards are being accepted at both stations, thanks to the groundwork laid by Halifko, a mother of a Coast Guard veteran who said she was appalled that these members of the military are not receiving paychecks. “Being a mom, you just want to help,” she said.

“These service members (from the two local stations) protect our ocean and river shores, save lives, and do search and rescues,” she said. “They serve the United States and continue to do so, although they are not being paid. They have rent, car payments, have to buy groceries, dog food, baby food, diapers, need gas money — just like the rest of us.”

Halifko, who lives in Neptune’s Shark River Hills section, said she was just as surprised to find that many people she spoke with locally in her daily travels had no idea of the situation.

So on January 18, Halifko posted a message on her local Nextdoor site and Facebook, asking for donations for “real people, with real loved ones and real concerns, while they still go to work protecting our shores and rivers and us.”

And as she puts it, “The response has been wonderful.” Although she does not know the actual results of her specific effort since the donations are directly received by each station, she and others did get a shout-out from the U.S. Coast Guard Station Manasquan Inlet/Shark River on Facebook, writing in part:

We cannot thank our community enough for the tremendous support we continue to receive. Please accept our heartfelt thank you as we navigate these uncharted waters. Like many of the storms we have weathered, together as a family we live up to our core values of honor, respect and devotion to duty … Our men and women with their heads held high show why we will always be the world’s premiere life-saving service by standing the watch. To our community we will be forever grateful.”

Here are the details on how to get involved in the donation drive.

Both stations area accepting donations of nonperishable items and branded gifts cards, such as those from supermarkets, gas stations, big-box stores and convenience stores, valued at no more than $20.

U.S. Coast Guard Station Manasquan Inlet is located at 61 Inlet Drive, Point Pleasant Beach. For more information, call the station at 732-223-0414.

U.S. Coast Guard Station Shark River is located at 125 Washington Ave, Avon-By-The-Sea. Before dropping off donations, call the station at 732-775-5029 to let them know when you will be arriving. The Avon Police Department at 301 Main Street, Avon-by-the-Sea, also is accepting  donations from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

DID YOU KNOW

  • The Coast Guard is the only branch of the military not being funded during the government shutdown because it falls under the Department of Homeland Security — instead of the Department of Defense, which is fully funded.
  • Members of Congress have proposed legislation to lift the hold on Coast Guard checks, despite the government shutdown. In the Senate, John Thune (R-S.D.) introduced the “Pay Our Coast Guard Act” on January 3 and in the House of Representatives on January 9, Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) introduced the companion bill, “Pay Our Coast Guard Parity Act of 2019.”
  • The Coast Guard Foundation is partnering with the U.S. Coast Guard Chief Petty Officers Association to distribute support to members across the country. To donate, click here.

 

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