Statement Attributed to Vince Hall, Chief Government Relations Officer
“Feeding America applauds Congress for taking action to help reduce food insecurity among active-duty service members and their families. Members of the military and their families make many sacrifices for our country—going without food should never be one of them.
“Many service members face distinct challenges that make it difficult to keep food on the table, including lower incomes for enlisted members and high rates of unemployment for military spouses due to frequent moves. In 2020, nearly a quarter of active-duty service members experienced food insecurity, according to the U.S. Department of Defense. Feeding America, a nationwide network of more than 200 food banks, 21 statewide food bank associations, and over 60,000 partner agencies, food pantries and meal programs, is working hard to support the nutritional needs of military families experiencing food insecurity. Expanding access to the Basic Needs Allowance will provide much-needed relief for military families who face challenges putting food on the table.
“We commend the House for passing the bipartisan fiscal year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act that expands the Basic Needs Allowance by raising the income eligibility limit to 150% of the federal poverty level, an increase from the current 130% limit. It also allows the Secretary of Defense to expand eligibility to households making less than 200% of the federal poverty level, under certain circumstances. These critical changes will help more military families so that members of our all-volunteer force can perform their duties without the worry of their families having enough to eat. The NDAA also includes other provisions to bolster support for military families, such as a 4.6% pay increase and funding to address the effects of inflation. All these provisions will help military families who are making impossible choices between food and other necessities, like gas for their cars.
“There is widespread support for these provisions. Earlier this year, Feeding America surveyed people who told us about the challenges they faced accessing food. Ninety-two percent agreed ‘no one serving in the military—whether active military, veterans, or their families—should have to deal with hunger and food insecurity,’ and 89% of survey respondents supported expanding the Basic Needs Allowance.
“It is in our national interest and security that we advance policies, such as the expansion of the Basic Needs Allowance, to ensure the well-being and morale of our nation’s all-volunteer force and their families. Feeding America applauds the House and Senate lawmakers for their bipartisanship in addressing hunger among military families. We look forward to the final passage of the NDAA in the Senate and continuing our work with Congress and the administration to ensure food security for members of the military and their families.”
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About Feeding America
Feeding America® is the largest hunger-relief organization in the United States. Through a network of more than 200 food banks, 21 statewide food bank associations, and over 60,000 partner agencies, food pantries and meal programs, we helped provide 5.2 billion meals to tens of millions of people in need last year. Feeding America also supports programs that prevent food waste and improve food security among the people we serve; brings attention to the social and systemic barriers that contribute to food insecurity in our nation; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Visit www.feedingamerica.org, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.