Carteret County businesses come to the aid of workers impacted by shutdown

CARTERET COUNTY, NC (WITN) North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, in conjunction with New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, sent a letter urging President Donald Trump and his administration to allow U.S. Coast Guard service members to receive federal food assistance during the government shutdown.

It comes as businesses in Morehead City are doing their part to try and help the men and women affected.

The employees of the Carolina Center for Surgery loaded several vehicles on Friday with donations for members of the Coast Guard.

They began collecting non-perishable food items, hygiene products, and gift cards for service members affected by the government shutdown. In just three days, they accumulated more than $5,000 in gift cards.

But they aren't the only ones doing their part to help.

"You know we really kind of sow into our community. We love our town, and we just tried to figure out how we could do a little bit of something," says Clark Merrell, the owner of Dank Burrito.

Dank Burrito in Morehead City is offering half-off food to Coast Guard members during the shutdown. And despite their own struggles after Hurricane Florence, helping those in their community is always a priority.

"It's just really important to participate, and to be a part of a community you have to be active in the community. And again this was just kind of part of that for us, said Merrell.

Big Rock Barbershop is offering half off haircuts on Wednesdays for service members and their children. They say they already have 21 prepaid haircuts for next Wednesday.

"It's all I've ever known. Neighbors help neighbors. It's just been awesome seeing different businesses, and just the community in general come together," said owner Stephen Dunn.

And the Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Committee is committed to those they help every day.

Chairperson Lorie Tulloch says, "It's just been wonderful to see how our businesses are helping support our coast guard families."

The Morehead City Chamber of Commerce says they are accepting donations at their downtown office. They ask for cash and gift card donations that will be donated through the Chief Petty Association.

The Carolina Center for Surgery also says donations can be dropped off at any of their eight locations in Morehead CIty, Swansboro, or Jacksonville, until the shutdown has ended.