Cordova pitches in to help federal employees

Several food donation drop-off locations pop up, volunteers coordinate aid

A dedication ceremony was held on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, at the new Veterans Memorial at the end of the South fill area, with participation by the U.S. Coast Guard Color Guard, from the Cutter Sycamore, community members and others. (Photo by Cinthia Gibbens-Stimson/The Cordova Times)

Cordova is pitching in to help federal employees impacted by the current federal government shutdown and not receiving their regular paychecks on time.

A food drop box established at the AC store is already filling up, and store manager Robbie Gilmour said people are welcome to donate gift certificates by calling the store at 907-424-7141, asking for customer service and giving a credit card number.

AC staff said that three people have donated $100 gift certificates.

AC is extending $500 in store credit to federal employees and the store is also offering 25 percent off of all purchases Friday, Jan.18, for all U.S. Coast Guard and other federal employees, including Transportation Safety Administration and U.S. Forest Service employees, to thank them for their service to the community.

Another food box is placed at Cordova District Fishermen United and another at Cordova Church of the Nazarene’s Rummage Sale.

Dixie Lambert has volunteered to coordinate aid with local federal employee supervisors and community members.

“The economy and safety of Cordova depend upon these federal employees and now they need our help,” Lambert wrote in her letter to the editor of The Cordova Times this week. “You will not hear them publicly complain or ask for assistance, so it is imperative that we reach out to them.”

She said nine TSA employees and all Cordova Coast Guard employees are working without pay during the shutdown. Of 20 USFS employees, three are working without pay and the rest are on furlough. Those working without pay are expecting back pay when the shutdown ends, but many are left with the problem of how to pay bills and put food on the table until then.

“I’m doing this strictly as a volunteer,” Lambert said. “I’ve taken more than one flight with the USCG help back in the ’90s. Without them, many of the lost members of our town would never been found or recovered. The USFS people get involved with the fire and ambulance departments as volunteers.”

How to give

In addition to AC Co., Cordova Church of the Nazarene Church will have a drop box at the site of their rummage sale at the old Trooper building on the corner of First and Railroad Ave. Pastor Steve Leppart will be there if you wish to donate a gift certificate from Nichols or AC Co. The rummage sale is 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Furloughed employees can talk to Leppart at the rummage sale about obtaining items at the rummage sale. New things will be put out so remember to check back daily. Leppart can be reached at 907-429-6262.

Donations and gift certificates can also be dropped off with Chelsea Haisman at Cordova District Fishermen United at 509 First Street, Cordova.

Food pantry services

Native Village of Eyak administers food distribution on behalf of the Food Bank of Alaska on an income basis. For more information on the program, contact Rebecca Calfina at NVE’s office at 907-424-7738.

How to get help

Lambert said Coast Guard families should contact Heidi Ritter, and USFS employees and their families should contact Dave Zastrow. Federal employees can also contact Lambert at 907-424-5146. All calls will be kept confidential, she said.