When families have a tough time providing adequate meals due to lack of access or affordability issues, they face a challenge known as food insecurity. This is a significant problem for many families in the U.S. today and military families are even more so affected by food insecurity. Emerging research has shown that many military families and veterans struggle to put food on the table. With inflation, supply chain issues, and increased food prices, many military families experience difficulty making ends meet and being able to provide for their families.
This issue is also particularly important since food and nutrition insecurity adversely impacts family health and well-being. Food insecurity can contribute to poor social and economic outcomes at the individual, household, and societal levels. Also, recent studies have indicated that Black, Indigenous, and people of color are disproportionately at risk for food and nutrition insecurity.
Food Insecurity Problems & Solutions
According to this article, “Right now, as many as 125,000 active-duty service members and their families may be facing food insecurity” (Feeding America.org, 2022). Things like limited/lower income, high cost of living, and other financial commitments, like loan repayment, are just a few reasons for an increased rise in food insecurity. And all of these financial commitments are compounded by rising inflation.
Another big problem is the unemployment rates of military spouses. “A survey by the military support group Blue Star Families released earlier this year found that the spouse unemployment rate in military families is at 20% and more than 63% are underemployed” (Kime, 2022). These high rates of military spousal unemployment can have significant effects on the military family financially. Military families will struggle with not only food insecurity, but a whole plethora of challenges if they must rely on only one source of income.
So, what can we do about it? How can we support military families to overcome food insecurity? One way is to work with Feeding America. Feeding America is an organization made up of 200 food banks across the country that are dedicated to ending hunger nationwide. To help food banks feed families in need, donate and volunteer with your local chapter.
You can also take the policy route and write to or call your local representatives and push for policies that will increase access to food, including expanding SNAP benefits, increasing the minimum wage, and funding food initiatives. Also, if you are looking to help in your local community, try organizing a food drive that caters specifically to helping military families.
OneOp Food Insecurity Webinar
To learn more about food and nutrition insecurity and how it affects military families, be sure and RSVP for our upcoming collaborative webinar, “Understanding the Social and Structural Drivers of Food and Nutrition Insecurity.” This live webinar providing free continuing education opportunities will take place on September 29th, 2022, at 11 am EST. This discussion will highlight the social and structural determinants of food and nutrition insecurity and examine strategies and approaches for improving food access and equity in military families as well as all families. CEs will be available for archived viewing as well!
Kime, P. (2022). “Demands of Military Life Behind Rising Food Insecurity Among Families, Reports Find.” Military.com. Retrieved from: https://www.military.com/daily-news/2022/06/07/demands-of-military-life-behind-rising-food-insecurity-among-families-reports-find.html
Wilson, A. (2022). “3 facts you should know about military hunger” FeedingAmerica.org. Retrieved from: https://www.feedingamerica.org/hunger-blog/military-hunger-facts
Blog Image: Photo from Pexels [Portrait of a Girl Eating by Misha Zimin, August 18, 2022, CC0]