Shutdown Donation Day
There’s something wrong when the government can’t get it together enough to pay the men and women charged with keeping our shores safe.
Yet, that’s the reality for some 508 servicepeople in the US Coast Guard, stationed right here in Cape May, with another 299 up the Parkway in Atlantic City. They’re out on the high seas, saving lives and intercepting drugs, with no pay.
Not only do our beloved Coasties save lives each and every day, but they’re some of our best customers. As home to the nation’s only Coast Guard Training Center, each and every Coast Guard recruit spends eight weeks in our fair city, usually visiting our Tasting Room at least once.
If our government can’t get it together to help them out, we’ll do it ourselves.
So, this past weekend, to Be a Good Neighbor, we held a Shutdown Donation Day to raise some much-needed funds and collect some food and supplies for the Coasties who have given us so much.
Here’s the anomalous thing about the US Coast Guard: while, along with the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, and the Marines, they’re considered a branch of the Armed Forces, they’re not part of the Department of Defense. Since they’re primarily concerned with safety, security, and interdiction, they’re part of the Department of Homeland Security.
The Department of Defense isn’t part of the shutdown. Active duty Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines are all — thankfully — receiving their paychecks. Bizarrely, particularly considering that the terms of the shutdown are a battle over a border wall, the Department of Homeland Security is shut down, so thousands of US Customs and Border Protection agents, US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents, and, yes, our beloved Coasties aren’t receiving a paycheck.
So, we stepped up.
“The USCG steps up when our country is in need, now it’s our call to action,” says Events Coordinator Randi Friel. “We need to gather as a community to make sure those that put their lives on the line for us still have food on the table and a place to lay their head.”
In all honesty, we scrambled to put this event together. When things got to the point that we realized that the Coasties were about to miss their first paycheck of the shutdown, we sprang into action. Usually, we’ll take a week or two to put together the details of an event like this one, raising money for a cause or an organization that’s dear to our hearts. This time, we started putting it together on Wednesday and were announcing it on social media on Thursday.
And the reaction from our fans was nothing short of inspiring. Within a few hours, we had over 200 responses to the event on Facebook, and people were sharing it left and right. Our fans were excited about this initiative, and we’re proud that so many of them stepped up to help.
By the end of the day, we collected a boatload of goods. Our fans donated an entire pallet of food and toiletries. In one day. That’s absolutely unprecedented.
We’re not only collecting food; we’re also donating money from sales. Through the end of the shutdown, we’ll be donating $1 from each sale of Always Ready or Always Ready merchandise from our Tasting Room. Each pint, each 6-pack, each growler fill, each t-shirt, each hat. We brewed this beer for our Coasties, and now we’re using it to give back to them.
On Saturday alone, we raised over $100 through sales of Always Ready and related merchandise, $1,159 through additional donations at the register, and we’re over $500 in a Facebook fundraiser. That’s a tremendous amount of money for any of our initiatives. We’re so very thrilled that so many people came out to help.
In addition, we were thanking active and retired Coast Guard members with a flagship brew on the house. And we’re happy to — they totally deserve a beer.
And we’re going to keep this going strong until the shutdown ends. We’ll still be collecting food and whatnot, and we’ll still be donating $1 from each sale of Always Ready.
It’s the least we can do.
So, stop down to the Tasting Room soon and stock up on Always Ready. Not only will you get your hands on an award-winning brew, but you’ll be helping out the folks who keep our shores safe.
Can’t beat that.