What other programs are available if I can’t afford groceries?

Do you ever worry about having enough money to buy food? Do you skip meals or rely on cheaper, less nutritious choices to make your food last?

Food insecurity can hurt performance, health, and mission readiness. There are many programs and resources available to help.

Many military families struggle with food insecurity, meaning they lack access to enough food for an active, healthy life for themselves and their families. It’s a complex problem. Military life has unique challenges, many of which come at a financial cost from frequent moves or spouse employment barriers. Although exact numbers aren’t known, about one in 4 Service Members and their families experience food insecurity.

When you can’t get the food and nutrients you need, your health, performance, and mission readiness can suffer. But there are programs and resources available to help.

Are you a military leader looking to help connect your community with resources to expand their food budget? Check out Military OneSource’s Military Leaders Economic Security Toolkit.

Federal programs for Service Members

Additional resources to expand your food budget

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Blue Star Families (2021) 2020 Military Family Lifestyle Survey Comprehensive Report. Retrieved 14 Mar 2023 from https://www.bluestarfam.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/BSF_MFLS_CompReport_FULL.pdf

Beymer, M. R., Reagan, J. J., Rabbitt, M. P., Webster, A. E., & Watkins, E. Y. (2021). Association between food insecurity, mental health, and intentions to leave the U.S. Army in a cross-sectional sample of U.S. Soldiers. The Journal of Nutrition, 151(7), 2051–2058. doi:10.1093/jn/nxab089

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Strengthening Food Security in the Force: Strategy and Roadmap. Office of the Under Secretary for Personnel & Readiness U.S. Department of Defense (2022). Retrieved 14 Mar 2023 from https://media.defense.gov/2022/Jul/14/2003035423/-1/-1/1/strengthening-food-security-in-the-force-strategy-and-roadmap.pdf

U.S. Food Security Locations by Installation. (2023) Military OneSource. Retrieved 15 March 2023 from https://download.militaryonesource.mil/12038/MOS/Economic-Security/FoodSecurityResources-SupportPrograms.pdf

USDA Food and Nutrition Service Military and Veteran Families. Retrieved 14 March 2023 from https://www.fns.usda.gov/military-and-veteran-families

USDA Economic Research Service Survey Tools (2022) Retrieved 14 Mar 2023 from https://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/food-nutrition-assistance/food-security-in-the-u-s/survey-tools/