During Sonia Kendrick’s decade in America’s armed forces—four years in the Army and six in the National Guard—she saw a lot of pain.
“I saw people who were hurting,” she says. But not all of that hurt stemmed from deployments. “If you’re trying to support a family on a soldier’s wages? You’re probably poor.”
Kendrick speaks from experience. After a year-long deployment to Afghanistan in 2004, she returned home to Hiawatha, Iowa, gave birth to two girls, and quickly lost her job. She says she struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder and alcoholism during this time, went through a divorce, and had a hard time finding a job as the U.S. economy slouched toward the Great Recession.
In hopes of getting back on track, she took out loans to enroll in an undergraduate agronomy program at Iowa State University, and while in school she began to visit a local food pantry. Unwilling to take food without giving something back, she started volunteering at the pantry and came across more than a few fellow veterans.Related State Governors Have Effectively Killed the Farm Bill’s SNAP Cuts
While conversations about post-traumatic stress disorder, military suicides, addiction, and the other traumas of war have advanced dramatically in the late years of America’s conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the problem of poverty in the military is largely hidden. The soldiers and vets standing in line at food pantries to make ends meet remain unseen. But according to a new report on hunger from Feeding America, food insecurity affects a lot of military families—as many as one in four. According to the organization’s annual report, Hunger in America 2014, 20 percent of families served by its food banks and pantries include someone who has served in the U.S. military, and 25 percent of households who seek food assistance from the Feeding America network include an active-duty service member.
Last month, the Department of Defense rejected Feeding America’s numbers on military hunger, saying the methodology was flawed. But Joyce Raezer, executive director of the National Military Family Association, believes budget downsizing and other issues have pushed military hunger to an unnecessarily high level.
“I can’t speak to Feeding America’s research because we were not a part of it, but I do know where the financial hardships come from: unemployment or underemployment of military spouses, frequent moves, lower income after deployments and youth and inexperience with financial matters,” Raezer said in a statement.
Many of the hungry in Linn County, Iowa, where Hiawatha is located, are veterans. According to census data, more than 16,000 of the county’s 215,000 residents are veterans. In 2012, the Linn County Veteran Affairs Food Pantry reported serving more than 3,400 veterans—including Kendrick.
Hunger touches those who are currently serving too. Last month, Action 4 News in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley reported on widespread food insecurity among National Guard troops Gov. Rick Perry deployed to the border to respond to an influx of unaccompanied minors crossing illegally. One food bank reported more than 50 calls from troops seeking food assistance following long delays in payment for their service. (责任编辑：彩票代购网站源码) 本文地址：http://www.troxtabo.com/famen/diandongfamen/201908/2894.html