COLORADO SPRINGS — A recent report from the Rand Corporation found just over a quarter of U.S. service members have experienced food insecurity in recent years.
The report said that 25.8% of members of the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard do not have access to enough food for their families to live an active, healthy life. Of this, more than half of that percentage were active-duty.
The report says the research was requested by the Defense Department. Care and Share Food Bank has seen an increase in active-duty members at their pantries. They tell me they saw that increase start in the summer of 2022, and that increase has stayed steady.
It’s important to note that since this report, the government has issued the largest military pay raise in 20 years. It’s a 4.6% pay raise due to inflation. But those serving are just now getting that raise this month.
Now retired from his service, Nate has served many leadership roles in the U.S. military. He says he understands why some military members might be hesitant to get help.
“Asking for help is sometimes hard for everyone. But when you put on a uniform, I think sometimes it’s multiplied by two or three. That and honor and pride of serving your country, so asking for help is hard for women and men in our armed forces,” said Springer.
“There’s an honor and pride thing with coming to a food pantry. And I would say that. Fort Carson and Peterson have great food security programs on their bases, on post. But we still see a lot of families that want to come off post to our Care and Share partners because they don’t want to be identified by their chains of command as being a family in need. So, really important, we are here to serve you.”
Nate went on to say that is why it’s important for service members to know about the available food banks that serve our community.
The U.S. government has also started a new program called the "Basic Needs Allowance," which targets younger active servicemen and women with larger families who are about 130% below the poverty line.
The program will help military families who need this extra help to afford basic needs. For more information, visit here.
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