TOLEDO (WTOL) - With news of the Coast Guard officers not receiving paychecks because of the government shutdown, residents in Ottawa County are coming together to help.

Bistro 163 is a “pay it forward” restaurant, where diners can get a meal for no cost, but are asked to donate if they can afford it.

Director Stacy Maple, has taken that generous spirit, and has helped organize a fundraiser for local federal safety employees who work in Ottawa County.

They are collecting gift cards up to $20 that will be handed out to officers in the Coast Guard, Border Patrol, and Customs and Homeland Security.

Local directors of the federal agencies say it is easiest to hand out gift cards up to $20 for those federal employees.

“And it’s unfathomable that they aren’t getting paid for all that they do for us. They protect us, they serve us, they keep our lake open and safe everybody who wants to come here. And not just us that live here, but the folks that want to come here and vacation and enjoy the lake,” said Maple.

John Starcher of Marblehead is also helping out.

As a businessman and village council member, he believe these men and women who protect our Lake Erie shore shouldn't struggle because of a partisan political issue in Washington.

“Marblehead, the Ottawa County area, Port Clinton has a long history of generosity when it comes to helping those in need. This restaurant is a perfect example of that. And we’re just trying to carry on that tradition,” said Starcher.

You can drop off gift cards at Bistro 163, the Port Clinton office of Community Support Services, the Jamestown Tavern in Marblehead or Starcher Enterprises.