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Military Families Depend on Food Banks Alongside Millions of Others

Military Families Depend on Food Banks Alongside Millions of Others

This week food banks were in the headlines, as a new report by Feeding America showed that 46 million Americans — that’s one out of seven people in the United States — rely on food banks to get what they need to stay healthy. Yet another notable statistic from that report was that 25% of all U.S. military households depend on those same food banks.

The Pentagon took issue with that number. ”Without performing appropriate statistical adjustments to match the survey sample with the military population, it is impossible to accurately calculate an estimated percentage of military households served by the Feeding America’s programs based on the survey data,” said Navy Cmdr. Nathan Christensen, a Pentagon spokesman.

There are of course programs available to help military families, but as NPR reported, it’s not always easy to ask for that help.

Joyce Raezer, executive director of the National Military Family Association, a nonprofit group that supports military families, says service members are often reluctant to seek such help. That’s especially the case now that the military is downsizing, she says.

“People are afraid to call attention to themselves. They don’t know who’s getting picked to be asked to leave and who’s going to get to stay and what the criteria are. And so a lot of these families are just laying low,” says Raezer.

Also, it can be embarrassing to admit you need help with food. Raezer wasn’t at all surprised that we were unable to get any military families to go on record for this story.

“The reason they go to the food bank is it’s anonymous,” she says.

Whether or not 25% is the actual number of military households depending on food banks, the real issue at hand here is that millions of Americans, including those who serve, are in situations where it’s economically impossible to get the food that they need. In fact, the Defense Department this year issued its lowest pay raise – 1 percent — in 50 years. According to NBC News, “For enlisted soldiers, pay starts at about $18,000 for new recruits and can reach upward of $65,000 for some who log more than 18 years in the military.”

Ultimately, these statistics point out how much many Americans are struggling to meet their most basic needs.

“The results from this historic study are truly alarming. Many of the people we serve struggle not only to get enough to eat, but also to keep a roof over their heads, the lights on in their homes, and to cover their healthcare and medicine costs,” said Bob Aiken, CEO of Feeding America, in a statement.

One thing is sure: we need to do more to ensure food security in America as well as work to fight poverty.

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Photo Credit: State Farm

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86 comments

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9:32AM PDT on Aug 29, 2014

Joseph B. you nailed it! I have nothing further to add.

Thank you for sharing!

6:47PM PDT on Aug 28, 2014

Thank you

3:39AM PDT on Aug 27, 2014

Noted

8:16PM PDT on Aug 26, 2014

U.S. gov't has become a disgrace.

1:26PM PDT on Aug 26, 2014

@ janet t "The squirrels or rabbits he got, he butchered in the bathtub" Reminds me of my childhood in the thirties except for the bathtub. We got one in the forties Luckily I left Korea unwounded with corporal stripes and the three medals for showing up and no children.

1:05PM PDT on Aug 26, 2014

@ Catherine D. "as a Vietnam wife I know all about this ,my husband was spit on , cursed and some stores even would not serve us" Unfortunately for you, news coverage that included film and photographs showing horrendous atrocities committed by American soldiers, and even soldiers bragging about rape and torture, made anyone who participated seem to at least be an accomplice. So unfair.


12:51PM PDT on Aug 26, 2014

@ Susan S. "We expect them to keep the enemy off our doorstep" No one with a functional brain ever expected enemy countries; the Vietnamese, the Cubans, the Taliban, Saddam Hussein, the Chileans, to show up on our doorstep. The military have the duty to obey orders or to be punished. They aren't asked to lay down their lives, they are TOLD TO DO SO when it serves the system. If they are not willing to do this, they should stay out of the military as long as possible. The word in the military when I was in, "never volunteer for anything".

3:49AM PDT on Aug 26, 2014

We have the same problem in Britain! Our lads & lasses who have served their time in the worst hell-holes overseas, are allowed to be mistreated when back on their own soil! It's worse than disgraceful, it's dishonourable!

3:13PM PDT on Aug 25, 2014

It is just shameful that soldiers of
the richest and most powerful
nation in the world have to rely on
food banks to feed their families.

11:03AM PDT on Aug 25, 2014

Ty

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