Veterans Day provides an opportunity to express our appreciation to the brave individuals who have served our country. And because of the work we do here at Second Harvest Food Bank, it's also a day for raising awareness and raising our voices about persistent food insecurity among military and veteran families.
At Second Harvest, we believe everyone deserves to eat; that no one in this "land of plenty" should go hungry. Ever. Period. Moreover, it is especially concerning to see those who have dedicated their lives to serving our nation struggling to put food on the table.
We recognize that many factors contribute to food insecurity among veteran and active duty families, and that the issues are different for currently serving military than they are for veterans. Among active duty military, the low pay scale for enlisted members and high rates of unemployment for military spouses, which is exacerbated by the lack of affordable childcare, are factors.
Food Insecurity Among Veterans:
Approximately 11% of veterans are food insecure.
Veterans of more recent service era are at greater risk of food insecurity compared to more distant service eras.
Veterans of the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have rates of food insecurity almost twice as high as the general population.
Since March 2020, Second Harvest's partner agency network has provided food assistance to over 2,800 veterans..
Active-Duty Enlisted Service Members:
Nationwide, as many as 160,000 active-duty enlisted service members experience food insecurity.
29% of the most junior enlisted ranks (E1 – E4) report facing food insecurity.
As Congress drafts the fiscal year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act, we have the opportunity to urge them to support the creation of a Military Family Basic Needs Allowance to provide a monthly stipend to service members whose income is below 130 percent of the Federal Poverty Level.
Tell Congress: It’s our duty to ensure that no member of the military ever struggles to feed themselves or their family. Send a letter to your Members of Congress today.
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