Chesapeake elementary school taking action to help families during government shutdown

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CHESAPEAKE, Va. - Many families are still trying to make it day by day. Now we're 34 days into the longest government shutdown in history.

The Chesapeake School District is offering free or reduced lunches for students whose parents are Coast Guard members or are furloughed government employees.

Grassfield Elementary School students are also trying to help by starting a non-perishable food drive.

"We don't just say we're a family; we're acting like a family," said Principal Dr. Kim Pinello. "When one another is in need, your family is who you reach out to." 

Pinello said the school is approaching 1,070 students, with 45 percent of them from military families and a quarter of them being connected to the Coast Guard.

The Grassfield Gators started the food drive on January 18.

"We have three expectations here at our school: To be respectful, responsible and safe, and they are just really excited that they're able to be responsible and respectful of others' needs," said Dr. Pinello.

Non-perishable foods, diapers, baby wipes and other supplies are welcomed. Families are able to stop by during school hours or make an appointment.

The school says only a few families have stopped by so far, but they hope even more come out to receive the help they deserve.

"They serve us every day and sacrifice for our families and they sacrifice time with their families, so we are happy to do whatever we do to help serve them at this point," mentioned the Grassfield Elementary principal.

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