Military spending bill could help ease hunger among service members (The Food and Environment Reporting Network)

Bridget Huber
December 2, 2021

This article was originally published on on December 1, 2021.

As the Senate debates the National Defense Authorization Act, which funds the U.S. military, anti-hunger advocates say the bill would take an important first step toward addressing the long-standing problem of food insecurity among service members. The bill would boost the pay of the lowest-earning members of the military, giving them a so-called basic needs allowance to help cover the cost of food and other necessities.

While neither the Pentagon nor other federal agencies keep official data on the issue, reports by advocacy groups and military family organizations suggest that a significant number of military families struggle to afford food. A 2020 survey of more than 10,000 service members, across all branches, found that 14 percent of respondents had been food insecure within the past year. The problem was more common among the lower ranks of the enlisted, with 29 percent reporting food insecurity. A 2016 report from the Government Accountability Office found that half of students from military families at schools on military bases were eligible for free or reduced-cost lunch. A Pentagon report on the issue was due in spring of 2020, but it has still not been released.

Read the full article from The Food and Environment Reporting Network.