RI Coast Guard families banding together after missed paycheck

It’s been more than three weeks since the federal government shut its doors and on Tuesday US Coast Guard Families are starting to feel the impact as they were not paid.

This is now the longest government shutdown in history, and while the battle over a border wall stretches on, the US Coast Guard community in Rhode Island is helping each other out any way possible.

The worst-case scenario for families like Mariah Battermann’s and Rachel Malcom’s finally hit on Tuesday, as they woke up to see that their spouses’ usual Coast Guard paycheck was not there.

“Checked our bank account and had a little moment where my heart just kind of sunk because it’s like ‘ok it’s really not going to be there,” Battermann said. “It has affected the way we think about grocery shopping, it’s affected the way we think about paying our bills.”

“Put off our payments, our automatic payments, keep them from coming out if they can because the money is not there,” Malcom said.

The two Coast Guard spouses now are doing their part in helping out other families and all furloughed federal workers. 

It started as a Facebook post from Malcom inviting any family into her home for a hot meal and time with friends. Now the two are teaming up with Military Spouses of Newport to hold a food drive Sunday for families at OceanPointe Church in Middletown.

“I know a lot of people are not used to this situation,” Battermann said. “It’s hard to ask for help when you’re not used to asking for help.”

The support has been widespread throughout the state.

Allison Costabile owns seven daycares across Rhode Island. She said she will be offering free daycare to any coast guard family hit by the shutdown.

Costabile is a Coast Guard wife herself and wants to help every family affected.

“There’s still a job to be done so they’re doing it whether they get paid or not,” Costabile said. “We’ll take as many students as we possibly can. I’ll hire extra staff, whatever I need to do.”

Costabile is also offering jobs to spouses of Coast Guard members as a way to make extra cash until the shutdown is over.

If the shutdown ends, service members will get their paychecks they missed Tuesday. The next expected paycheck for the US coast guard is February 1.

Costabile is offering free daycare at these locations:

Warwick: The Lighthouse Preschool: (401)-737-3400 Contact: Allie Pontribriand

Cranston: The Gingerbread House Preschool: (401)-654-6854 Contact: Beth Berardis

Cranston: Kids Club on the Pike: (401)-443-5336 Contact: Kari Dicarlo

Johnston: The Farmhouse Preschool: (401)-432-7776 Contact: Nicole Houlihan

Johnston: The Schoolhouse Preschool: (401)-808-6243 Contact: Kennedy Vescera

Coventry: Munchkinland: (401)-397-7771 Contact: Lisa Cipolla

West Greenwich: Munchkinland 2: (401)-397-3777 Contact: Joelle Cipolla