The unexpected fallout of the Shutdown is falling right on the shoulders of American military families. The Republican-led shutdown has closed military commissaries across the country and denied burial benefits to the families of servicemen and women killed in Afghanistan.
Yesterday Senators John McCain and Harry Reid made national headlines when they denounced the suspension of the death gratuity benefit that helps the families of fallen soldiers travel to meet the flag-draped coffins of their loved ones— an unexpected side effect of the government shutdown.
The families of five U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan a few days ago will not receive the usual "death gratuity" due to the government shutdown. Typical $100,000 compensation is wired to the families of the servicemen and women killed in the line of duty within 36 hours to help with funeral and other expenses.
House Speaker John Boehner, said that the House would act immediately to resolve this issue by Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the closure of the military commissaries, which serve as super markets for military families, gets few if any headlines at all.
Military families rely on the lower prices at military commissaries to stretch their budgets and make ends meet, so the shutdown has crimped their budgets big time.
But Military.com reports that Sam’s Club is offering free Sam's Club membership to military families until the Shutdown ends
Sam's Club officials have announced that all members of the military and their families will be allowed to shop in the members-only warehouse store for free until the government shutdown ends and the commissaries reopen.
According to The Military Times Sam's Club near military bases are offering free membership privileges to military shoppers.
“About 50 Sam’s Club stores near military bases will temporarily waive membership requirements for military personnel, retirees and their families until the government resumes operations at stateside commissaries.”
Sam’s Club spokeswoman Carrie Foster told The Military Times that to get membership fee requirements waived, military families and veterans only have should show proof of past or present military service at the member services desks or at checkout.
Foster identified 50 Sam’s Club s near military bases that are participating in the program
This is important for military families because there is a Sam’s Club 3.9 miles from Fort Sill, Oklahoma; a Sam’s Club 3.5 miles away from the Fort Lee, Virginia.; and one 5.8 miles away from Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
WRAL, which serves the Raleigh - Durham area, and Fayetteville, North Carolina, where Fort Bragg is located, reports that Sam’s Club issued the following statement on its website.
"In response to the U.S. government shutdown of domestic military base commissaries, all U.S. Sam’s Club locations will offer free shopping passes to military personnel, retirees and their families so they may continue to save on home and business essentials.
“To receive the temporary pass, guests should show military ID or proof of past/present military service at Sam’s Club Member Service counters. Sam’s Club will continue to offer the temporary passes to military personnel and families until the U.S. government resumes domestic commissary operations.
Military personnel and their families heavily depend on commissaries for low-price home and business essentials. In appreciation for the service the military provides…, Sam’s Club welcomes military families to shop its clubs as a first step to restoring normalcy and meeting family needs during uncertain times."
The Virginia Pilot, which serves the Norfolk, Virginia area, even posted a Sam’s Club store locator: on their website so the thousands of military families in the Norfolk area could locate the closest Sam’s Club participating in the program.