Active Duty and Veteran Military Families Must Use Food Pantries to Meet Basic Needs

by Vins
Published: Last Updated on

Veterans and active duty military families are turning to food pantries across the country in the United States in order to meet their basic food needs, Michelle Chen reported for The Nation in August 2014. Nationwide over 620,000 military families are turning to food pantries, according to a report by Feeding America, a national network of food aid groups and program.   Feeding America’s “Hunger in America 2014” reports that, across all food programs, over twenty percent of households receiving assistance “include a member who has served in the U.S. military.” Four percent of the households receiving assistance include a member who is currently serving in the military. In the San Diego area, 27% of the households needing weekly food are active duty or veteran families.

Many veterans who have served for our country come out of the army with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or are physically harmed in some way. Once they are out of the army there are few resources to turn to when it come to the essentials that these families need. The families are often put in a difficult positions choosing pay the utility bill or buy groceries. Young vets are faced with high unemployment rates.

Even active duty families often cannot make their monthly payment. Surveys show that 80% of active duty families have over $10,000 in debt and a third say they cannot pay all of their bills.

Chen reports that the Pentagon “has disputed Feeding America’s methodology, suggesting that its statistical definition of military households was imprecise, but everyday tales of wrenching family struggle keep bubbling to the surface.”

Source: Michelle Chen, “620,000 Military Families Rely on Food Pantries to Meet Basic Needs,” The Nation, August 22, 2014,

Student Researcher: Samantha Luna (Sonoma State University)

Faculty Evaluator: Brian Gillespie (Sonoma State University)