Helping the Hungry in America’s Military

Americans: this week, in honor of the troops and Memorial Day, consider donating to a food pantry.

About a quarter of military households in the U.S. rely on food stamps to put food on the table. Despite the fact that officers are now paid more than ever before, rank and file military members often earn less than $25,000 a year — hardly enough in some parts of the country to comfortably support a family with children.

Upon fulfilling their duties and leaving the armed forces, veterans often find that the skills they learned in the military don’t automatically open doors to civilian jobs. More than 12 percent of post-9/11 veterans – those who served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – live in poverty. The unemployment rate among those same veterans in 2011 was also more than 12%.

Military members and their families make enormous sacrifices in the name of defending their country, beyond the ultimate sacrifice of putting life and limb on the line in combat. A military career requires frequent moves and long stretches with one or more family members away from home, especially during wartime. The nomadic-by-necessity lifestyle of a military household can make it difficult for members of the military to build savings or build career skills outside of the armed forces – and difficult for the civilian spouses of soldiers to keep a steady job.

Military families have always faced such challenges, but during the last decade that the United States has been at war, with no draft in place, the fewer than one percent of Americans who actively serve in the military have borne an historically unprecedented burden. Many families have seen fathers, mothers, husbands and wives deployed on long missions not just once or twice, but repeatedly over the course of several years. The veterans returning to civilian life now are coming home to a remarkably bleak job market in an economy still struggling to recover from one of the worst economic collapses in history.

As a result, far too many of those who risk their lives for their country on the war front are now returning to a daily battle for basic economic security on the homefront.

America’s troops deserve better and we as fellow citizens can help. There are many charities working to help hungry veterans and military families:

Related Care2 Content:

Bringing Garden Fresh into Food Banks

Where There Is Poverty, There Are Hungry Children

While Children Starve, Up to Half of the World’s Food Goes to Waste



Photo of canned foods by Tomomarusan, from Wikimedia Commons. Used under Creative Commons license.


Jim Ven
Jim Vabout a year ago

thanks for sharing.

Huber F.
Huber F4 years ago


Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson5 years ago

done. so shocking and sad :(

Don Schneider
Don Schneider5 years ago

Because we have an all Voluntary Military it is easier for the department of defense to ignore the problems faced by our military and military families. The disparity in military pay and escalating costs of living create an undue hardship on military families. This has ALWAYS been the case, but now that everyone's children are not involved in military service , it is easier to turn a blind eye to the plight of military families. It is time for our "sunshine patriots" to put their money where their mouths are and demand pay increases and an increase in the support system for military families. Simply repeating thin praise and lip service aimed at salving their own consciences does nothing for our enlisted military members. The problems are particularly difficult for the families of enlisted personnel, mirroring the class based inequities in our society at large !

Elaine A.
Elaine Al Meqdad5 years ago

This is so very wrong! These brave men and women of the armed services should come home and have EVERYTHING paid in full for them, the rest of their lives.

Sue Matheson
Sue Matheson5 years ago


Sue Matheson
Sue Matheson5 years ago


Susan Oliver
Susan Cytko5 years ago

How sad is that, they they do not have enough money to live.

Dee D.
De D5 years ago

Thanks for the reminder.

Brenda Towers
Brenda Towers5 years ago

Thanks for sharing.