Military Family Advocates Respond to Report That 1 in 4 Military Families Rely on Food Banks

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Downsizing, Lower Pay Raises and Benefit Cuts Add to Financial Stress

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The number of military families living on the financial edge is higher than it should be.

National Military Family Association (NMFA), a nonprofit that works to strengthen and protect military families, responded today to the results of Feeding America’s newly released report on hunger. The report says that 14% of American households rely on food banks, but when it comes to the military, that number is 25%-- which translates to 620,000 families.

“The number of military families living on the financial edge is higher than it should be,” said NMFA Executive Director Joyce Raezer. “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.”

Between the military downsizing, and active duty pay raises being lower than the Consumer Price Index, more families are on the edge.

“They don’t want to seek help from their command because, for one thing, they’re embarrassed,” said Raezer. “With so much uncertainty over the downsizing, they don’t want to do anything to draw attention to themselves.”

Raezer says there are a lot of resources available to help military families, but they need to be able to access those resources without shame. Military relief societies and chaplains are there to lend a hand, but many families may prefer to go outside the military system for assistance.

“If I have limited cash, a car payment to make, and groceries to buy, using a food pantry allows me to feed my family and make that car payment on time,” said Raezer.

While these numbers may come as a surprise, NMFA’s stance is that no military families should have to struggle to make ends meet. Now is not the time to limit pay raises and housing allowances, raise commissary prices, increase out of pocket health care costs, or cut critical family and service member programs like financial education and spouse employment support. NMFA addresses many of these issues through its information outreach to military families and programs that include spouse scholarships and family post-deployment reintegration retreats.

About the National Military Family Association
Military families serve our country with pride, honor, and quiet dedication. The National Military Family Association is the leading nonprofit organization committed to strengthening and protecting the families of the men and women currently serving, retired, wounded or fallen. We provide families of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Commissioned Corps of the USPHS and NOAA with information, work to get them the benefits they deserve, and offer programs that improve their lives. Our 44 years of service and accomplishments have made us a trusted resource for military families and the Nation's leaders. To learn more, visit

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Besa Pinchotti
National Military Family Association
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