Bay Area Coast Guard families volunteer at food bank they relied on during 35-day Gov't. shutdown

North Bay U.S. Coast Guard families spent Saturday morning delivering food and volunteering at the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank. 

It’s been a month since the Coast Guard families had to rely on food donations from the same food bank during the 35-day government shutdown. 

"When they were feeling stable and feeling like things were going back on track, right away, the first thing they thought about was coming and helping,” said SF-Marin Food Bank Communications Director, Maria Stokes. 

The government shutdown began in December 2018 and forced U.S. Coast Guardsmen to continue to work without pay for two pay cycles. The North Bay Coast Guard Spouses’ Club president called the food bank to ask about locations families could receive food, when the SF-Marin Food Bank offered to truck in food donations to the base. 

The government shutdown ended February 15. 

"The good thing is it helped get [us] to a level of closeness I've never seen,” said club president Kristy Martin. “My husband has been in almost 22 years and now I have sisters for life, because of this experience."

The Novato Coast Guard families say they're breathing a sigh of relief now that they're getting their paychecks, however there's still that anxiety that another government shutdown could be coming. If so, the spouses club and the food bank say they're ready.

"If it happens again, we've learned a lot of lessons and the food bank has said 'as soon as it happens, we'll be there,” said Martin.

The San Francisco-Marin Food Bank says volunteers are always needed and welcome.