CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -

Now in their second week of being furloughed by the federal government’s partial shutdown, more than 30 Kennedy Space Center employees Tuesday morning participated in a beach cleanup in an effort to make good use of their forced free time.

“We all work for the federal government, for NASA, because we want to make a difference,” said Margaret Truitt, a 29-year-old NASA human resources employee who helped organize the event. “This is a small way to give back during this furlough time, to still be productive members of society.”

Most were NASA civil servants, but the group of mostly young employees included some contractors and at least one student visiting from out of town.

They gathered at the Cocoa Beach Pier at 10 a.m. and set out with buckets, garbage bags and tongs for picking up trash, all provided by Keep Brevard Beautiful.

Early on, cigarette butts were filling up the buckets.