In 2021, 33.8 million people living in the United States were food insecure (Weeks et al, 2023). Food security is defined by the USDA as, “Access at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members” (OPA). Frequent relocations, barriers to spousal employment, and the Basic Allowance for Housing being factored into SNAP eligibility compounds the issue of food security for military families. As a result, one in four service members currently experience food insecurity (OPA).
Food insecurity is a complex issue that impacts military family readiness, well-being, and retention. While understanding the complex system that has exacerbated quality food access is important, identifying the resources available in your community allows service providers to proactively support clients on the issue of nutrition access.
Whether you are assessing food access for the first time, or you’ve been seeing this problem in your conversations with military service members for some time, there are three ways you can join the fight to expand food security in your community:
1. Create a Food Security Resource Guide
- Having a personalized resource guide is one of the best ways to support military families in your community. Knowing where and what resources are available within your service region can also be a great tool to share with other service providers in your network. A great place to start is the Military Families and Food Insecurity LinkedIn Group. Join and connect with other service providers working to help families affected by food insecurity.
2. Learn About Food Security Programs and Benefits on June 7th.
- Dr. Angela Odoms-young facilitates a panel discussion among expert representatives from federal agencies to explain how military families can access benefits and programs aimed at alleviating food insecurity. From this panel, you can gain the knowledge needed to make the best possible recommendations and referrals for the families you serve.
3. Attend the Workshop, “Building Networks to Alleviate Food Insecurity” on June 28th.
- This 90-minute interactive, virtual workshop will assist in identifying programs in your state and local community and developing your own Food Security Resource Guide. You will have an opportunity to engage with other service professionals and food security experts.
Service professionals are an integral part of the network that can bridge the nutrition-hunger gap for families experiencing food insecurity around the world. Partner with OneOp today to expand food security for military families in your community.
Weeks, J., Mykyta, L., Madans, J. (2023). National Center for Health Statistics (U.S.) Adults Living in Families Experiencing Food Insecurity in the Past 30 Days: United States, 2021. Retrieved from https://stacks.cdc.gov/view/cdc/125707
Office of People Analytics. Center for Readiness & Retention. Retrieved on May 8, 2023 from: https://download.militaryoneso...ecurity-briefing.pdf
Written by Kristen Jowers, M.S. MFT
Photo by iStock – 1290287573