Service Members Struggle to Feed Their Families

This story about the struggles of junior grade service members to provide for their families seems to go on and on. What is really shocking here is how much money the service commissaries (grocery store for you civilians) in the way of SNAP vouchers and/or food stamps. Congress has never been quick to keep military pay on an equitable par with civilian employment. It got so bad in the early 1960’s that there were grumblings within the ranks to unionize the military. Congress needs to pay attention.

As Written By Dorian Merina for NPR:

Kara Dethlefsen lined up early on a recent morning for the food pantry at the Camp Pendleton Marine Base near San Diego. She and her husband, both active-duty Marines, took turns holding their 4-month-old daughter.

“We most like to get the avocados, lemons, some vegetables to cook up,” says Dethlefsen, 27, who first heard about the pantry from an on-base nurse after giving birth.

“This probably saves us anywhere from $100-300 each time we come,” she says. That’s key for her young family. Her husband is getting ready to transition to civilian life after five years of military service, and they’re not sure what financial challenges that could bring.

The food pantry is run by Saddleback Church, one of several faith-based groups that operate on base to bring donated food to military families every month. The pantry offers fresh fruit and vegetables, canned food, meat and baby items like diapers. Typically, about 100 families show up, according to Saddleback pastor Steve Mahnke.

“I always tell my friends, my neighbors, I show them what I got and they seem to be coming,” says Sarai Vizcarrondo, 41, as she pushed a cart of produce and canned goods to her car. She says the pantry helps meet the needs of her family, which includes two teenage children and her husband, an active-duty Marine.

Though families cite different reasons for coming, the pantry’s popularity points to a real need among service members, says Abby Leibman, president and CEO of MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, an advocacy group based in ……


When Active-Duty Service Members Struggle To Feed Their Families : The Salt : NPR

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