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Scott gathers 5 tons of goods for Coast Guard families

(U.S. Air Force photo by Chief Master Sgt. Daniel Kenemore)

A member of the 375th Civil Engineer Squadron carries boxes of diapers to a moving truck as part of Operation Coast Watch, a relief effort for local Coast Guard families affected by the government shutdown that gathered about 10,000 pounds of donated goods, Jan. 31, 2019, at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois. “Our goal was to lighten the burden as much as we could,” said Senior Master Sgt. James Pope, co-coordinator of OCW. “If it meant 80,000 pounds of stuff, we would’ve done it.” (U.S. Air Force photo by Chief Master Sgt. Daniel Kenemore)

(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tara Stetler)

Senior Master Sgt. James Pope, 375th Civil Engineer Squadron operations superintendent, stands next to donations brought in during Operation Coast Watch, a relief effort for local Coast Guard families affected by the government shutdown, Jan. 29, 2019, at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois. About 10,000 pounds of goods and $5,600 were collected during the drive. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tara Stetler)

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. --

The Scott Air Force Base community gathered about 10,000 pounds of goods and raised over $5,600 in donations in a four-day span to assist 250 Coast Guard families in the local area.

The drive, dubbed ‘Operation Coast Watch,’ was held at the commissary Jan. 25-28, and was coordinated by more than 70 Scott Airmen to specifically help those who were without pay due to the recent 35-day government shutdown.

Senior Master Sgt. James Pope, 375th Civil Engineer Squadron operations superintendent and co-coordinator of OCW, said he took on the project on Jan. 24 and had a trailer full of goods by the evening of Jan. 25.

“People would walk in [to the commissary] and say, ‘Oh, what’s going on?’ and we’d say, ‘We’re looking to see if, while you’re shopping, you would like to pick up some of these items to donate to the Coast Guard,’” said Pope. “Then they would come out, and I’d be out at the trailer and they’d have three carts full of stuff. And that wasn’t their stuff – they’d go back in and do their own shopping. It was pretty amazing.”

Each day of the drive brought in another trailer full of goods. Pope quickly found an empty warehouse on base to store the unexpected amount of goods before delivering them to the families Jan. 26.

“It has been just an overwhelming amount of giving and caring,” said Pope. “The military, we’re really good about community and family, and this is our sister service. It’s comforting to be able to make it a little easier for them.”

While the government was temporarily reopened Jan. 25, Coast Guard families did not receive pay until Jan. 31.

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