“Food insecurity is a complex challenge with multiple dimensions,” said Laura Koerner, Texas Veterans Commission (TVC) Chairwoman and U.S. Navy veteran. “It not only deprives individuals of their basic human need to access nutritious food but also undermines their health, education, and overall well-being.”
Chairwoman Koerner made these remarks at the San Antonio Food Bank Board of Directors Meeting on June 16, 2023. She expressed her appreciation to those attending for their efforts to end hunger and noted “It is an issue that demands urgent attention and collective action.” She went on to highlight TVC programs which work to prevent hunger for veterans and their families. These include supporting nonprofit organizations providing food services with TVC Fund for Veterans’ Assistance (FVA) grants.
According to the nonprofit Meals for Vets, which receives FVA grants:
- An estimated 2 million veterans battle food insecurity nationwide.
- 25% of veterans who served in Iraq or Afghanistan report problems being able to acquire food for themselves or their families (2015 study published in Public Health Nutrition).
- With 2.5 million who served in Afghanistan and Iraq that means 625,000 are struggling with food insecurity.
“Military and veteran food insecurity is an issue that needs more public awareness,” Korner said.
Bringing the issue of food insecurity experienced by veterans and active military forward to the public garnered Bridget Grumet of the Austin American-Statesman a 2023 TVC Excellence in Media Award.
The story, “More Texas military families struggling to buy food” followed a military spouse in line at a food bank. It also noted that Nationally, 1 in 6 military and veteran families live with hunger or food insecurity, meaning they don’t have regular access to affordable, nutritious food. That’s worse than before the pandemic, when the figure was 1 in 8.
The complexity of this issue is shown by key factors leading to food insecurity and hunger are. Among those factors are:
- Rising prices for food and cost of living
TVC programs addressing these factors include Veteran Employment Services, Veterans Mental Health Department and disability compensation Claims assistance, in addition to FVA grants.
“I appreciate having this time with you today and being with others who are working to end hunger. We are in this together,” said Korner.