By MOAA Staff
Two MOAA leaders took to the commentary pages in recent days to garner support for an end to military food insecurity, one of three issues that make up this year’s Advocacy in Action campaign.
In a piece for Military.com, MOAA President and CEO Lt. Gen. Dana T. Atkins, USAF (Ret), called the plan to establish a Basic Needs Allowance to support servicemembers living near the poverty line a critical retention tool.
“Without help in the early stages of these careers, the military risks losing the investment it makes in these members,” Atkins wrote. “They'll seek other ways to feed their families and separate at the earliest opportunity, or they'll suffer on the job from the stress of their situation or from a simple lack of nutrition, putting their family's needs ahead of their own.”
A piece in The Hill by Rear Adm. Tom Jurkowsky, USN (Ret), a MOAA board member and author, outlined the difficulty faced by some of these junior enlisted families in receiving assistance. Because the military’s Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) counts toward income requirements for the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps), many of these servicemembers aren’t eligible for aid. Those who are eligible may not seek aid because of a stigma surrounding the SNAP program, Jurkowsky wrote.
“No one in this country, the so-called ‘land of plenty,’ should experience hunger or food insecurity — and especially those who raise their right hand to volunteer to serve their country and go into harm’s way to defend it.”
Both pieces outlined how COVID-19 has made the problem worse, with child care concerns mounting and more military spouses losing income because of the pandemic.
The Military Hunger Prevention Act – bipartisan legislation in both the House and Senate – would provide an average of $400 a month to servicemembers at or near the poverty line. Ask your lawmaker to support this bill today, and share this link so others can join the cause and learn more about food insecurity in the ranks.
MOAA Fights for You
Get involved and make sure your interests are addressed.