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Commendable actions during shutdown

Elected leaders in Washington, D.C., have shirked their responsibility to their nation by allowing a shutdown to begin, not to mention by allowing it to continue for more than a month.

Fortunately for hundreds of thousands of workers who are furloughed or working without pay, their communities have not forsaken them. Numerous efforts have been under way locally to help local workers, particularly Coast Guard families, stay on their feet until they can get back to work.

Several Daisy Girl Scouts from Suffolk donated food and volunteered with their parents at the Help for Hampton Roads Coast Guard Families Food Drive last weekend. The drive brought in food as well as hygiene products, baby formula, pet food, gift cards and more to help Coast Guard families make it through the shutdown.

About 163 households received assistance through the drive, which included 597 people and 218 family pets. That’s a lot of people and animals that had their needs fulfilled through the initiative and generosity of their neighbors. And it’s not over — the drive is set to continue this Saturday.

It’s not just private citizens; even the government — the local government, that is — is making sure residents know where they can go to get help.

For affected residents of Suffolk, the city is offering support. Furloughed and unpaid workers can access energy assistance as well as other help through the Department of Social Services. Information on utility payment extensions and tax deferments is available through the Department of Public Utilities and the City Treasurer’s Office, respectively. The Department of Parks & Recreation is also reviewing individual cases of people who need to delay payments for childcare services, recreation center memberships or sports leagues that they or their children may be involved in.

While we condemn this shutdown and the actions in D.C. that have led to it, we commend those locally who are ensuring that federal workers are taken care of in the meantime.