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The battle against food insecurities in the military

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The advocacy group, Military Family Advisory Network (MFAN), released their study, "Causal Factors of Military and Veteran Family Food Insecurity" in June, 2022. Their findings show that one-in-five military families experienced food insecurities in 2021, up from one-in-eight, two years ago. 

This study also found that structural parts of military life, such as high rates of spouse unemployment, moving and childcare shortages are driving the growing food insecurity among active-duty families.

The Grunt Style Foundation is playing a role in addressing this issue by producing what we call our Grunt Style Foundation Deployments. These events provide Junior Enlisted, National Guard, Reserve, and even Veteran families, with donated goods and services in a drive-through setting. Serving military installations across the United States, Grunt Style Foundation offers helpful resources and support to these brave men and women.

In addition to food distribution, the Grunt Style Foundation offers shampoo, conditioner, lotion, deodorant, body wash, toothpaste, laundry detergent, toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning supplies, diapers, wipes, feminine hygiene products, and Grunt Style apparel for parents and children.

Since the Grunt Style Foundation was formed in April of 2021, we have conducted seven Foundation Deployments and have served over 1,700 military families.

Grunt Style Foundation Deployments

Washington, D.C.
21 May 2021
150 Families Served

Joint Base San Antonio, TX
21 June 2021
100 Families Served

Camp Lejeune, NC
16 November 2021
300 Families Served

Camp Pendleton, CA
20 November 2021
300+ Families Served

Joint Base Andrews, MD
3 December 2021
250 Families Served

Naval Air Station Jacksonville Beach, FL
25 March 2022
300+ Families Served

Joint Base San Antonio, TX
18 June 2022
300+ Families Served

The Grunt Style Foundation wants to provide support to our nation's heroes to not only show our appreciation and provide a little relief to those most deserving, but to also add our voice to the conversation that is informing the decisions being made by our national leadership.

Last year, the United States Congress authorized the "Basic Needs Allowance" to help the military's most vulnerable families, targeting households with incomes that fall below 130% of the federal poverty level. For a family of three, that amounts to $28,550 in 2022.

The Congressional Budget Office estimated that 10,200 service members would receive the new benefit, which would average $400 per month.  Rules for how allowances will be calculated are still being drafted and the first checks are not expected to be distributed until next year.  A Defense Department review of food insecurity in the U.S. military is due by Oct. 1, 2022.

The MFAN report linked above includes numerous recommendations on ways to address the food insecurity issue among service members and their families.

One suggestion that Grunt Style Foundation fully endorses is excluding the Basic Allowance for Housing, or BAH, from the required calculations to qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or commonly referred to as food stamps) and count as little BAH as possible to qualify for the new Basic Needs Allowance.

We hope that our country’s leadership will pay close attention to the recommendations included in the MFAN report and listen to the needs of those men and women who stand ready to deploy on behalf of our nation. As a result, they would be able to spend less time worrying about how to put food on the table and spend more energy on putting rounds on target while down range.  

About the author: William Wisner is a proud Army Veteran who also served in Operation Iraqi Freedom. 
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