Every year on November 11th, we remember and honor our veterans who have bravely served to defend and protect our country. These men and women deserve to be honored every day, not just on November 11th. Yet, many veterans, as well as active-duty personnel, are struggling to put food on their tables. In fact, one in every 10 working-age veterans lived in a food insecure housed according to the US Department of Agriculture statistics spanning 2015-2019. On-going fallout from the pandemic has only worsened this unacceptable reality.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) is the cornerstone of our nation’s defense against food insecurity. However, a 2020 study by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) found that fewer than 40% of veterans who are eligible for SNAP were enrolled in the program. Perceived stigma about participating in SNAP is a barrier to participation.
When the recommendations from the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health were released in September of 2022, a whole-of-government approach was incorporated in the recommendations. With this approach, almost every US department will be involved in addressing hunger, nutrition, and health.
Included in the recommendations is the establishment of a new Office of Food Security to address food insecurity among veterans by providing SNAP information and enrollment assistance for veterans at VA Medical Centers and clinics and addressing the immediate need for food assistance by establishing food pantries, produce prescription programs, and mobile food pantries at VA Medical Centers and clinics.
Currently, the above recommendations are not in place to assist our veterans who are struggling to put food on their tables.
As we honor our veterans today, please contact your Members of Congress and ask them to support H.R., Ending Veteran Hunger Act of 2022.