Food insecurity impacts many military members and veterans
BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Many families have been impacted by food insecurity and have used outside resources like food banks to help provide for their families. Military families are among that group, and this is not a new issue, according to the National Military Family Association.
The Don & Ellie Knauss Veteran Resource & Support Center at Texas A&M University provides student veterans with resources to succeed in their civilian life. One need that is seen in the program and in similar programs is food insecurity, according to the center’s director Col. Jerry Smith.
“A lot of them, about three-quarters of our student veterans, work at least one part-time job,” Smith said. “Most of their spouses work, and that’s to make ends meet.”
The financial need can cause student veterans and their families to have limited access to nutritious foods or simply wonder where their next meal will come from.
“They’re unemployed or part-time employed once they become students, so we need to help make sure that they’re not going to become potential financial failures,” Smith said.
Besa Pinchotti, the executive director of the National Military Family Association, believes that this is an issue that goes well beyond college campuses and affects many military members and veterans.
“It’s really upsetting to think that the people who serve our country and sacrifice every single day have to go to a food pantry to make sure that their families are fed,” Pinchotti said.
Pinchotti and Smith say it can be hard for military members and veterans to ask for help.
“If you don’t have enough resources to put food on the table for you and your family, you’re not taking care of the troop that’s most important in my book,” Smith said.
Smith said asking for help is an important step.
“This is not a handout,” Smith said. “This is a way to get you to succeed in this next chapter of your life.”
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