On Monday, the U.S. Defense Department issued a directive to active duty personnel, stating they are to immediately "cease community relations outreach throughout the current lapse of appropriations."
The order applies to all branches of the military.
In the Norfolk/Virginia Beach area, dozens of local charities are adopted by the crews of various U.S. Navy ships, annually. Those crew members typically clean and repair public parks, perform maintenance duties at homeless shelters and distribute goods for local food banks.
In February 2005, the Navy News Service reported:
More than 1,100 USS George Washington (CVN 73) crew members set their sights on two dozen community relations projects around Newport News, Va.
GW's crew has set a goal to volunteer at least 20,000 hours in three phases to agencies throughout Newport News during the ship's time in the yards.
Not surprising, news of the 'cease and desist' order has hit Hampton Roads charities hard...
Currently, the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, is in dry dock at the Newport News Shipyard. Consequently, a large number of the ship's crew have been spending their time volunteering at charities around the area, that stopped Monday.
Sadly, the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank which relies heavily of the sailors, has been forced to cancel a community service project due to this order.
While it costs the taxpayers nothing for these service members to volunteer their time with local charities (hence, the term 'volunteer'), this is yet another needless effort on the part of the Obama administration to make the partial government shutdown as painful as possible for all Americans.
Over the weekend, Obama ordered the national Amber Alert website closed. However, his favorite golf course, located at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland has remained open throughout the shutdown.