A shocking number of active military service members are facing such dire food insecurity they must rely on food banks to feed their families, the Associated Press reports. The number of those affected is around 160,000 and the issue stems primarily from active-duty military members being unable to apply for food stamps or other government help. The problem is compounded by the fact that due to the nature of active-duty service, which often includes multiple moves, spouses often cannot find suitable work to help support military families. The report relies on data from Feeding America, which has access to data from around 200 food banks around the U.S.
Most of the military members impacted rank E1 to E4, junior-level enlisted members who are among the lowest paid in the military. “It’s a shocking truth that’s known to many food banks across the United States,” Vince Hall, Feeding America’s government relations officer, told the A.P. “This should be the cause of deep embarrassment.”