The shutdown has been affecting many in Kitsap County. The nearby National Parks, including Olympic National Park, closed, sparking anger in the community. Robert Burrows, who moved to Alaska from Washington to obtain a park ranger position at Denali National Park, is now out of work due to its closure. “I think about the children who are [at a National Park] and I wonder how it feels to those children to be told that they have to go home because their government can't figure their stuff out,” says Stacy Marshall of Bainbridge. Most importantly, government workers are not getting paid. Many are currently furloughed and without jobs due to the shutdown.
However, there is hope. The community ties of Kitsap County has also been strengthened as a result. “We do not feel alone. We are surrounded by a community that is invested in seeing our family thrive and allow us to keep our dignity during these uncertain times. For that we are deeply grateful,” says Jessie Bates of Suquamish. She is the mother of three children and stays at home while her husband works at Bangor. Due to the furlough, her husband is currently not getting his paychecks, and the family of five has been relying on the kindness of others at the Buy Nothing North Kitsap (BNNK) community to stay afloat. BNNK is working towards building a local gift economy in which people can give away and receive items. An idea brought to North Kitsap County by Trash Backwards, the group gets connected through Facebook. It relies on integrity and kindness, and has been proven a success. Shanna Wilson of Poulsbo is in a similar situation. Also a mother of three, her husband has been furloughed as well. Thanks to the solidarity of the BNNK community, she has managed to obtain not only decorations for her new house, but also Halloween costumes for her children.
The Kitsap County community has been seriously affected by the government shutdown. Hopefully this situation won’t last much longer. Yet for the time being, the strength in the community is helping keep people from going under during these hard times.