As the federal government shutdown continues into its fourth week, the effects are becoming more and more devastating. And that devastation is being felt by people from all walks of life, coast to coast, even right here in Beverly.
Many local families have been impacted by the shutdown, whether it’s due to a lack of income or the inability to access necessary assistance from federal programs. Government employees who haven’t received a paycheck in over a month are finding it difficult to pay their bills and put food on the table for their families.
And that’s where Beverly Bootstraps comes in.
As the go-to source for people in need in the Beverly community, Bootstraps is committed to connecting individuals and families with the resources needed to help during this challenging time.
Heather Johnston, director of donor relations for Beverly Bootstraps, said the organization is starting to see people come in seeking assistance in response to the shutdown.
“We did some outreach to the Coast Guard families [living in Beverly],” she said, adding that the organization has also been using social media to spread the word. “So we’re starting to see more people come in. We’ve had a few so far.”
Being the caring community that Beverly is, Johnston said there have been a number of residents and organizations that have reached out asking how they can help, whether it’s through holding a fundraiser or hosting a food drive.
If the shutdown wears on for several more weeks, Johnston said things will likely become more challenging, especially for those who utilize the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
“We will have a lot more people who will have a food need, so we’re preparing for that,” she said, explaining that, at this point, those benefits won’t be funded for March. “We anticipate that needs will increase.”
The shutdown is also proving difficult for Bootstraps because the agencies that typically help the organization with funds for heating assistance have seen their staffs cut, and acquiring that funding is taking longer than normal.
“We’re really starting to see the trickle down effect from it,” Johnston said.
Anyone who has been furloughed, has missed a paycheck or has been impacted in any way by the shutdown is encouraged to reach out to Bootstraps.
“There are a lot of people who have never been in this situation before and don’t know where to go,” said Johnston, explaining that she expects her case management team will be fielding inquiries from all over the North Shore. “We will do the best to either help them or get them connected to services they need closer to them.”
With no end in sight for the government shutdown, Johnston said Beverly Bootstraps is ready and willing to try to help those impacted for as long as necessary.
“As long as they need help … we will keep working with them to meet their needs,” she said. “We want people to use us as a resource. We’re here for them.”
Those interested in receiving help should submit an inquiry to the case management team via the organization’s website, www.beverlybootstraps.org.
Bootstraps is also looking for help from the community to assist in meeting the needs of families impacted by the shutdown. Food, personal care items and monetary donations for the organization’s Emergency Fund are all being accepted. Any kind of contribution will help individuals and families affected by the government shutdown or others who are in crisis and find themselves in need of Bootstraps’ assistance.
Some of the most needed items include cereal, healthy kids snacks, peanut butter, tuna, soup, spaghetti sauce, shampoo, toothpaste and toothbrushes, feminine hygiene products and diapers (sizes 3-6).
For more information about Beverly Bootstraps and the organization’s efforts to help during the government shutdown, visit www.beverlybootstraps.org.