WESTERLY — Jonnycake Center of Westerly has experienced an increase in its delivery of services since the federal government partial shutdown started last month and is prepared to help others who need assistance, said Lee Eastbourne, executive director.
"We haven't seen a huge uptick but this week we saw some furloughed workers. If the shutdown continues into a fifth week we expect that number to rise," Eastbourne said Friday.
The lives of about 800,000 federal workers are being affected by the shutdown that started on Dec. 22. Some have been furloughed and others are working but not being paid. The shutdown is affecting the U.S. Coast Guard, which falls under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The Naval Submarine Base in Groton is not expected to be affected sine the Pentagon's budget was approved before the start of the shutdown.
Eastbourne said the Jonnycake Center has served a few Coast Guard members since the shutdown as well as a few retired government workers. The center offers a food pantry and through its social servces department provides assistance with payment of rent, utility bills, heating, and medical needs. Those affected by the shutdown are asked to bring their government or military identification, Eastbourne said.
The center serves residents of Westerly, Charlestown, and Richmond from its Industrial Drive headquarters.
The ramifications of the shutdown will likely persist, even when it ends. With that in mind Eastbourne said the center is prepared to assist affected residents, as needed, well after the government resumes normal operations.
For more information call the Jonnycake Center of Westerly's social services department at 401-377-8069 ext. 101.