Combatting Food Insecurity for Military Families
The Armed Services YMCA (ASYMCA) is honored to have been awarded a grant from the Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF) to support COVID-19 Emergency Food Assistance. The goal of this grant is to reduce hunger among junior enlisted military families by providing emergency food distribution in San Diego, Camp Pendleton, Twenty-Nine Palms, El Paso, Lawton, Fort Campbell, Hampton Roads, and Fort Bragg.
“Our military families make extraordinary sacrifices in service to our country, and we owe it to them to ensure their needs are met” Armed Services YMCA President/CEO William French said. “We are grateful to the Bob Woodruff Foundation for their support of COVID-19 Emergency Food Assistance. Their support will ensure that our military families have the resources they need as our country recovers from the effects of the pandemic.”
The funding provided by the BWF grant will help the ASYMCA expand resources to meet the increased need for food security amongst junior enlisted military families caused by the pandemic. At the 10 branches currently running food support operations, the Armed Services YMCA has seen up to a fourfold increase in demand in some locations. According to a recent study from the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University, nearly 40 percent of active-duty families experienced food and nutrition support needs since the pandemic began in early 2020.
This greater need comes due to the loss of income seen in many military families as military spouses lost jobs due to COVID-19, had hours curtailed and income reduced, and in some cases, because children are no longer receiving meals in school. Seven ASYMCA branches responded to this crisis by either expanding or developing new food programs to meet this need.
“We’re all hopeful for a brighter future beyond COVID-19, but right now millions of veterans, their families, and caregivers are still facing challenges that were created or exacerbated by the pandemic,” said Anne Marie Dougherty, Chief Executive Officer of the Bob Woodruff Foundation. “Through these grants, the Bob Woodruff Foundation is helping veterans and their families access high-quality care and resources, eliminating barriers to their success, and empowering them to thrive.”
Even with the rigorous vaccine program that is currently in place, more than half the economists surveyed by the National Association for Business Economics (NABE) do not expect the US economy to fully rebound until 2022. Given the uncertainty concerning when the nation will reach a return to normalcy, both in health concerns and economically, we expect to continue to see increases in emergency food assistance throughout 2021.
About Armed Services YMCA:The Armed Services YMCA (ASYMCA) is the oldest military support organization in the United States, founded in 1861. The ASYMCA's mission enhances the lives of active duty junior enlisted military members and their families in spirit, mind and body through programs relevant to the unique challenges of military life. In 2020, the ASYMCA engaged nearly 150,000 individuals and delivered more than 500,000 points of service through its 12 Branches and 24 Affiliate Partners, serving 87 military installations across the U.S. To learn more about how the ASYMCA is "Strengthening Our Military Family(R)" visit www.asymca.org.
About The Bob Woodruff Foundation: The Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF) was founded in 2006 after reporter Bob Woodruff was hit by a roadside bomb while covering the war in Iraq. Since then, the Bob Woodruff Foundation has led an enduring call to action for people to stand up for heroes and meet the emerging and long-term needs of today’s veterans. To date, BWF has invested over $80 million to Find, Fund and Shape™ programs that have empowered impacted veterans, service members, and their family members, across the nation. For more information, please visit bobwoodrufffoundation.org or follow them on Twitter at @Stand4Heroes.