Military Family Advocates Respond to Report that 1 in 4 Military Families Rely on Food Banks
Downsizing, Lower Pay Raises and Benefit Cuts Add to Financial Stress
August 18, 2014
National Military Family Association (NMFA), a nonprofit that works to strengthen and protect military families, responded today to the results of Feeding America’s newly released report on hunger. The report says that 14% of American households rely on food banks, but when it comes to the military, that number is 25%--which translates to 620,000 families.
“The number of military families living on the financial edge is higher than it should be,” said NMFA Executive Director Joyce Raezer. “I can’t speak to Feeding America’s research because we were not a part of it, but I do know where the financial hardships come from: unemployment or underemployment of military spouses, frequent moves, lower income after deployments, and youth and inexperience with financial matters.”
Between the military downsizing, and active duty pay raises being lower than the Consumer Price Index, more families are on the edge.
“They don’t want to seek help from their command because, for one thing, they’re embarrassed,” said Raezer. “With so much uncertainty over the downsizing, they don’t want to do anything to draw attention to themselves.”
Raezer says there are a lot of resources available to help military families, but they need to be able to access those resources without shame. Military relief societies and chaplains are there to lend a hand, but many families may prefer to go outside the military system for assistance.
“If I have limited cash, a car payment to make, and groceries to buy, using a food pantry allows me to feed my family and make that car payment on time,” said Raezer.
While these numbers may come as a surprise, NMFA’s stance is that no military families should have to struggle to make ends meet. Now is not the time to limit pay raises and housing allowances, raise commissary prices, increase out of pocket health care costs, or cut critical family and service member programs like financial education and spouse employment support. NMFA addresses many of these issues through its information outreach to military families and programs that include spouse scholarships and family post-deployment reintegration retreats.
About the National Military Family Association
The National Military Family Association is the leading nonprofit dedicated to serving the families who stand behind the uniform. Since 1969, NMFA has worked to strengthen and protect millions of families through its advocacy and programs. They provide spouse scholarships, camps for military kids, and retreats for families reconnecting after deployment and for the families of the wounded, ill, or injured. NMFA serves the families of the currently serving, retired, wounded or fallen members of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Commissioned Corps of the USPHS and NOAA. To get involved or to learn more, visit www.MilitaryFamily.org.
Until military families are relieved of the weight of war, we hope you will continue to contribute to their wellbeing.
Sign up to receive periodic eNews and alerts.
Want up-to-date information and a community of people that care about military families?