Sen. Murphy stops by a pop-up pantry at Coast Guard Academy

WTNH News 8

NEW LONDON, Conn. (WTNH) - Members of the U.S. Coast Guard are working hard to make ends meet during the partial government shutdown.

They are among the 800,000 federal workers, who have either been furloughed or who are now working without pay.

The shutdown began back on December 22nd.

On Tuesday, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy visited a pop-up pantry set up at the Coast Guard Academy in New London.

He also talked with impacted families and thanked volunteers.

"What I hope we can do this week is pull the Coast Guard out of this mess," said Sen. Murphy.

As for the president's latest proposal, the senator says it complicates things because an immigration bill should be negotiated and will take time.

"The president needs to turn back on the government and get these people paid and then we can sit down and talk about the temporary protected status, dreamers, and border funding," said Sen. Murphy.

The senator is on a 24 hour notice to go back to Washington and he is hoping he gets called back soon.

"If Mitch McConnell brought up any of the bills that have already passed the house to turn back on the government they would pass," said Sen. Murphy. "Period stop."

In the meantime a community comes together.

"This is saving our pantry and refrigerator," said Jaclyn Collett. Her husband is a Coast Guardsman.

During the senator's visit, the Antonino Auto Group presented a $30,000 check to the pantry and the Coast Guard Alumni Association gave another $25,000.

"This is going to help people out with their medical expenses, non reimubursed, and heat, light, and power expenses and we certainly need it today," said John Antonino, principal with the Antonino Auto Group.

Efforts needed as the coast guard men and women work without pay. The only military service required to do so.

Also at the pantry on Tuesday was a an English Mastif named Duke who is a registered therapy dog. He greeted the people who came in and put a lot of smiles on their faces.

"By petting a dog it soothes the heart and everything else," explained "Tiger" Maynard-White with Pet Partners.

Just one of many heartwarming moments on this frigid day.

The pop-up pantry was set up by the U.S. Coast Guard Chief Petty Officers Association which is working with other non-profits.