Most of us are celebrating the holidays with family members and enjoying bountiful meals — but what about the approximately 160,000 families of active-duty military personnel who cannot afford to feed those at their tables?
This food insecurity primarily affects the most junior enlisted service members, from the E1 to the E4 ranks. According to the organization Feed America, approximately 30% of these military members face food insecurity.
The lowest military ranks suffer with low pay along with high living costs at many base locations in the United States. The frequent moves required by the military make it difficult for spouses to find work. Additionally, an Department of Agriculture rule prevents military families from accessing food stamps.
Although there are charitable organizations providing some assistance, I am sure many of our military personnel prefer not to access charities for food. Maybe the Department of Defense should review the pay rates for junior enlisted ranks and provide increased living-expense funding for those in expensive locations.
Food insecurity can adversely affect our military members and their families and could have negative effects on our national security.