JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville-area groups and restaurants have come together to help those hit the hardest by the partial government shutdown.
The Beaches Emergency Assistance Ministry (BEAM) in Jacksonville Beach and the Greater Jacksonville Area United Service Organizations are offering assistance that includes helping with mortgages and rent, and providing food and other items needed.
The USO announced its plans to help the Coast Guard community by serving as a distribution point, along with BEAM and Feeding Northeast Florida. It is asking for specific donation items, including baby food, diapers, pet food and $10 or $20 gift cards to Publix, Winn-Dixie or Walmart. Cash donations and checks made payable to USO Jacksonville are also welcome.
A food pantry at Jacksonville International Airport was set up by Feeding Northeast Florida to help TSA workers also affect by the shutdown.
“Many federal employees are using food pantries for the first time in their lives and will not need our help after the shutdown ends,” said Feeding Northeast Florida CEO Frank Castillo. “We hope to help as many federal workers as possible during the shutdown and will keep our pantries at the USO and airport open until the shutdown ends.”
Federal workers impacted by the partial government shutdown who work or live at the beach can receive financial assistance and food from BEAM. It can help residents pay rent, mortgage and utility bills, as well as provide food for families. It also has a pantry with fresh vegetables grown in its garden.
The organization serves low-income residents in Jacksonville’s beach communities and relies heavily on community support to assist residents in a time of need. Executive Director Lori Richards hopes the continued support from the community will bring relief to those struggling to make ends meet.