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Addressing Hunger Among Active Military and Veterans

Addressing Hunger Among Active Military and Veterans

Military personnel and veterans are experiencing food insecurity

Military members and their families sacrifice so much for this country. However, a recent study found that 16.6% of military and veteran families face food insecurity, according to the Military Family Advisory Network. Many opt to skip meals to pay rent and other expenses and turn to regional food banks like the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank.

In comparison to the prepandemic era, 1 in 8 active military and veteran families struggled with food insecurity. The COVID-19 pandemic nearly doubled the number of military members seeking food assistance, but in 2022, 1 in 6 families were still food insecure. 

Military members and their families often move from base to base, inflicting moving expenses that aren’t covered and preventing their spouses from holding down long-term employment. 

The U.S. Department of Defense recently announced improvements to strengthen food security among the military. However, if you or someone you know needs food assistance, consider visiting the Food Bank’s Pantry Locator to find the nearest food resources.

Hundreds of Thousands of Individuals Seek Food Assistance from the Food Bank, Including Active and Retired Military Members

In a recent visit to the Antelope Valley, the Food Bank met Samuel Williams at a food distribution at Iglesia El Lirio de los Valles in Lancaster. Like many, Williams fell on hard times. As a veteran, Williams receives his social security check and retirement. However, that wasn’t enough to pay for his home and other necessities, causing him to lose that home.

At the time of our interview, Williams had been living in motels. He receives retirement every month, but when he applied for CalFresh, he was awarded a minimum of $23 monthly. In a time when food prices have skyrocketed, $23 a month isn’t enough to even cover the basics.

Attending food distributions like the one at Iglesia El Lirio de los Valles means the world to Williams. Here, he can get fresh produce that he loves and other items that will help him get by.

“This is a life-saving event for me,” Williams said. I’m just doing my part to make myself available to whatever you have to offer. Last month, it was such sustenance that I appreciated it, and it carried me through the month.”

The Food Bank was also fortunate to meet Lay Salter, a veteran who, after a year of two surgeries and chemotherapy, was closing out the year receiving food assistance at one of our partner agencies. 

“We want to thank everyone who donates, works, and spares their time to provide this food–we appreciate everything you do,” Salter said.

Alfred Palafox is a Site Manager at Shepherd’s Pantry Irwindale, a Food Bank partner agency. After he gets off from work, he goes straight to Shepherd’s Pantry to do what every volunteer and staff member at this food pantry loves to do – serve their neighbors.

Palafox has heard his share of stories, but there’s one that comes to mind and keeps him motivated. He had the opportunity to meet a U.S. veteran who, despite being retired, continues to serve in one way or another. Although this veteran struggles to make ends meet and has several health conditions, he continues to attend the distributions to pick up food for himself and his ailing mother. To Palafox, this veteran continues to serve.

Hunger is a significant issue that affects many people, including those who serve or have served in the military. Consider helping our neighbors in need by making a donation to the Food Bank.

Get Involved

When you give monthly, you provide food to a family in need. Together, #WeFeedLA.

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