2017-2018 National Veterans & Family Support Ambassador
Ways to Help Veterans Experiencing Food Insecurity
As a young child, my mother often reminded me how important it was to eat three square meals every day. By three square meals, mom meant a nutritious breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Mom always stressed that breakfast is the most important meal as it provides the sustenance and energy to begin all of our daily activities. Following in my mother’s footsteps, I encourage my children and grandchildren to consume three square meals – that includes breakfast.
Many men and women who have served our nation now face hunger. Unfortunately, the harsh reality is that 20 percent of households supported by the organization Feeding America include a member who is a veteran, or who has served in the U.S. military.
“It is disheartening to know that one in five households that come to us for help has a member who has served our country,” said Diana Aviv, CEO of Feeding America. “Military families face unique challenges, but we must ensure that putting food on the table is not one of them.
Hunger among the more than 12 million U.S. veterans over the age of 60 is reaching critical levels. Estimates are that more than 300,000 elderly veterans are food insecure. Relatives, who often do not live with the elderly veterans in their families, do not realize how little food their loved ones are consuming each day.
What is Food Insecurity? Food Insecurity is defined as the state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. Food insecurity causes people to suffer from chronic hunger and poor nutrition and as a result, they are less likely to lead healthy and productive lives.
What can we do to help our veterans who experience food insecurity? A simple way each of us can give back to our veterans who are struggling with hunger in our local communities is to collect and donate the following types of food items to our local food pantry:
- Pasta sauce
- Canned fruit
- Peanut butter
- Boxed potatoes
- Canned pasta
- Ramen noodles
- Baked beans
- Pancake syrup
- Pancake or Muffin mix
Another suggestion is to collect healthy food items and distribute them to veterans and their families at your Post home. Do you know of farmers or vegetable growers who would be willing to donate fresh fruit/vegetables to help support our veterans? Maybe a local grocer would be willing to donate whole grain breads/rolls.
Let us honor our courageous veterans by raising awareness of food insecurity and hunger our veterans and their families may be experiencing. We can all do our part to help provide the necessary ingredients to prepare nutritious meals.
As we Catch the Dream for Our Veterans, I thank you for all the extraordinary simple acts of kindness you perform each day to support our veterans, our service members, and their families.