Politics
The Detorres family is one of many thousands of Washington families affected by the partial government shutdown.
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The Detorres family is one of many thousands of Washington families affected by the partial government shutdown.
Credit: Courtesy Alisha Detorres

'Honestly, I can’t believe we’re in this position right now.' Coast Guard families rely on food pantry as shutdown stretches on

As the partial shutdown continues into week four, community volunteers have started food donations to help thousands of Coast Guard officers and reservists who are working without pay.

The last four weeks have been stressful for Alisha Detorres of Woodinville. She gave birth to her sixth child just weeks ago. Her husband is a chief petty officer deployed overseas. Because he isn't getting paid, Detorres says she’s had to dip into their savings.

To stretch things, she went to the Coast Guard’s food pantry for the very first time.

“Honestly, I can’t believe we’re in this position right now,” said Detorres. “You’re an educated professional, your husband’s been a member of the military for 17 years, you’ve always supported your family. And now, you’re using a food pantry.”

Detorres said she's appreciated the outpouring of support. She’s fortunate to have her family help with childcare. But families with children in private daycare struggle.

“If you can’t pay you lose your spot and it can take months or longer to get into those programs,” she explained.

There are an estimated 73,000 federal workers in Washington state. Gov. Jay Inslee announced the state will offer unemployment benefits to federal workers who are required to be on the job without pay.

As the shutdown stretches on, Detorres says many of them are scared about how long they could manage before their credit is affected — and whether they’ll have to choose between paying rent or buying food.