A Twitter chat is like a meeting on Twitter; it has a specific discussion topic and a scheduled start time. Using the hashtag #MilCents at the end of each tweet, MFAN will ask questions to a group of financial experts.
Our research informs our work. We learn from the stories and experiences of military families. When it comes to addressing the issue of food insecurity, MFAN’s efforts have been informed in part by two national research studies, and multiple subsequent reports.
While military and veteran families’ experiences are essential to our research, we also rely on the USDA’s Six-Item Short Form Food Security Scale to specifically analyze the level of food insecurity they are facing. The USDA scale uses six statements and questions to evaluate food security, and when respondents answer affirmatively, it shows that they are having trouble getting enough food for their families in some way. The scale is a precise way to evaluate food insecurity, and when paired with families’ experiences, we get a full picture of what support is needed.
The following reports contained key insights about food insecurity in the military community.
One in 8 survey respondents said they experienced food insecurity before the COVID-19 pandemic. In the survey, the following states recorded the highest amount of food insecurity: Texas, Virginia, California, North Carolina, Washington, Florida, and New York. When military and veteran families are experiencing food insecurity, they rely on their communities for support, especially food pantries. Read the full report.
Respondents from Texas said they were less likely to seek help when they don’t have enough food. Among the respondents from Texas, 1 in 6 was considered food insecure, according to the USDA food security scale. Read the full report.
The COVID-19 Pandemic made it even more challenging for active duty and veteran families to get enough food on the table. This survey, fielded in the first quarter of 2021, provides a snapshot of pandemic challenges that caused more food insecurity. The incidences rose to 1 in 5 among the respondents. Read the full report.
Veterans struggled with food insecurity more than retirees, who leave service with a pension and other supports not available to veterans. Veterans also faced more obstacles with social determinants of health, such as lack of emergency savings, difficulty accessing health care, and higher rates of loneliness. In this report, 15.6% of post-9/11 veteran and military retiree family respondents said they experienced food insecurity. Read the full report.