Blog  |  Military Hunger  |  Policy Watch

Military Families Shouldn't Need Food Banks

No one serving in our military should struggle to feed their family – but it’s happening right now.

July 6, 2021 | By Vince Hall, Chief Government Relations Officer

Edgarwho is on active duty in the militaryrecently returned home from a year-long deployment. He visits his local food bank to pick up food for his wife and two children. 

A few days ago our nation celebrated the Fourth of July – a time for celebrating our nation’s founding, being grateful for the promise of democracy, and being appreciative of all those whose sacrifices safeguard our freedom.  

Yet at this time of celebration, an unacceptable reality goes largely unnoticed: far too many of the brave people who fight on the frontlines are unable to keep enough food on the table for themselves and their families. In fact, as many as 125,000 active-duty service members and their families are facing food insecurity today.  

No one serving in our military should struggle to feed their family – but it’s happening right now. 

I saw the problem firsthand when I served as the CEO of Feeding San Diego, a Feeding America network food bank. San Diego County has one of the largest concentrations of active-duty military personnel and veterans in the world. The families stationed there do not necessarily choose where they live, but they face the reality of San Diego’s high cost of living regardless. It is a reality faced by military families across the United States. 

Beyond living expenses that can stretch a military family’s grocery budget to the breaking point, many other factors contribute to hunger experienced by active-duty military families, including low salaries for enlisted personnel and unaffordable childcare costs. Additionally, the transitory nature of military service means spouses and other family members too often face unemployment or underemployment, further adding to the financial hardship facing so many families. 

Military hunger is a sad truth – but it’s one lawmakers can change.  

By creating a Military Family Basic Needs Allowance, our lawmakers can give much-needed assistance to those service members most in need. If enacted into law, this provision would provide a modest monthly allowance to military personnel whose income is below 130 percent of the federal poverty level, helping to ensure they’re able to afford healthy food for their families. 

While I’m proud that Feeding America network food banks work tirelessly to provide nutritious food near military bases across the country, the simple truth is that military families shouldn’t need food banks. 

As a nation, we are indebted to all those who wear the uniform of our country. We have an obligation to eliminate the ongoing worry so many of them face about how to feed their families, particularly when they are on deployment thousands of miles from home. We can solve this problem if we rally together and push lawmakers to act. 

You can make a difference today by taking just one minute to send Congress a message: We can no longer allow military families to face hunger

Military members fighting on the frontlines are fighting hunger, too. @hunger dives into why as many as 125,000 active-duty service members & their families face food insecurity — & how Congress can make a difference: