- Obama not worried about Ebola at upcoming African summit in D.C.
- Obama: ‘We tortured some folks’ after 9/11
- Obama administration asked whole D.C. Circuit to take on major Obamacare case
- Mark Levin: Topple GOP leadership or country will ‘unravel’
- Massachusetts to let police chief deny gun buys to those deemed unfit
- John Kerry condemns attack on Israeli soldiers, kidnapping
- U.S. starts to evacuate American Ebola patients from West Africa: Report
- Geraldo slammed as ‘dummy’ for backing Clinton’s bin Laden claim
- Israeli spokesman: No need to debate who broke the cease-fire
- 35 Palestinians killed; Israeli officer missing
Under Obama, troops forced to rely on welfare, holiday charity to make ends meet
Families receive bags of fixings for meals
Question of the Day
Jamie Boling and her husband, Joseph, know that providing for a military family can be trying — waiting for orders, often living on a single income, and, in especially tough cases, supporting a spouse wounded in the line of duty.
Around the holidays, the challenges — especially the financial ones — can tax families already struggling to make ends meet.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a nonprofit D.C.-based think tank, estimates that as many as 340,000 veterans rely on federal or state rental assistance. About 900,000 veterans live on food stamps, and an additional 5,000 active-duty service members are food stamp recipients.
The nonprofit groups Operation Homefront and Fisher House Foundation stepped in Monday to provide the Bolings and about 300 other military families in the D.C. area with grocery bags filled with the fixings for a holiday meal.
“My husband medically retired in October, and it’s a big transition to go from active duty to medical retirement,” said Mrs. Boling, 29, of Gaithersburg. “It gets hard around this time of year. My husband is making about 30 percent of what he used to be making. You have to start stretching dollars. This literally puts food on the table.”
Families received a bag of disposable plates, silverware, cups and napkins, as well as a bag of canned goods and a bag of dry goods, such as instant potatoes, pie crust and cornbread mix. They were also given Wal-Mart gift cards along with vouchers for turkeys and produce at the store.
“The No. 1 request we hear is for assistance with food and to ensure children have a Christmas to remember,” said Vivian Dietrich, executive director of the D.C. area branch of Operation Homefront. “Families want to ensure their children have pleasant holidays.”
Wal-Mart provided the $2 million to help fill the grocery bags. The donation is part of a pledge by the big-box retailer to donate $20 million to veterans and their families by 2015.
Ms. Dietrich explained that in an expensive city to live in like the District, military families often face the challenge of balancing a food bill with other necessities.
Jennifer Allred said her husband is in the Army and the two of them live in Alexandria with six children, ages 4 to 13.
“We can’t not get gas,” Mrs. Allred, 34, said. So when it comes to cutting back, “the first thing to go is the fresh stuff.”
An average month of grocery shopping can cost upward of $800, Mrs. Allred said, and around the holidays, she and her husband have to figure out how to balance doctor’s appointments and food bills with Christmas wish lists.
“Stuff like this helps to supplement,” she said. “It makes it much easier. Families like ours get lost between the cracks.”
While the Congressional Budget Office a decade ago estimated that the total benefits and pay compensation package earned by the average active-duty service member was $99,000, basic pay for a soldier starts at $18,194 annually — below the $23,550 federal poverty line for a family of four.
Political battles have made the situation even more unsettling.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Meredith Somers is a Metro reporter for The Washington Times. She can be reached at email@example.com.
- Higher Ground: 'Christian' Grey
- Priest abuse survivors group marks milestone
- Teen girl exorcised by priest, sends demonic text messages in response
- Obama nominates Rabbi David Saperstein as ambassador for religious freedom
- John Kerry: Millions displaced by religious fighting in 2013
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By Orrin G. Hatch
Procedural changes impede the chamber's traditional deliberative function
- Border agents cleared of civil rights complaints from illegal immigrant children
- Ben Carson takes major step toward presidential campaign
- U.N. condemns Israel, U.S. for not sharing Iron Dome with Hamas
- Obama military strategy too weak for future security, panel reports
- Porn-surfing feds blame boredom, lack of work for misbehavior
- House GOP resurrects border bill, predicts successful Friday vote
- Feds raid S.C. home to seize Land Rover in EPA emission-control crackdown
- Ted Nugent slams 'lying freaks' at liberal media: I'm 'doing God's work'
- CRUZ: A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza
- Pentagon wants extra $19M to equip, train Ukrainian troops
Top 10 U.S. military helicopters
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors