Hunger Advocacy Network Reception Recognizes Three Congress Members’ Fight For Equal Food Benefits
San Diego CA— On Thursday, the Hunger Advocacy Network’s Legislative Champions Reception honored the work of three members of Congress representing San Diego County to ensure all military families have access to the food necessary for an active, healthy life. In San Diego County, an estimated 10 percent of all households that receive emergency food assistance from the Feeding America San Diego network are active duty military families, and the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego food bank estimates that they feed 28,000 low-income military families and their dependents each month. This is partly caused by existing law that often leaves off-base families ineligible for the federal benefits they need to access enough food each month.
At its Legislative Champions Reception, the Hunger Advocacy Network recognized U.S. Representative Juan Vargas and U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein, who worked to amend this law in 2015. Currently, it treats the income of military families who live off base differently than those who live on base, leaving many without the access to CalFresh, a monthly supplement to a household’s food budget. But Representative Vargas and Senators Boxer and Feinstein, along with a bipartisan group of Senators representing other states, introduced amendments in the federal fiscal year (FY16) National Defense Authorization Act that would have eliminated disparities in how on- and off-base military housing is treated for the purposes of eligibility for food assistance programs. While not ultimately incorporated into the final bill, the Hunger Advocacy Network recognizes these amendments are critical first steps in the fight to address military hunger.
“An alarming number of our military families struggle daily to put enough food on their dinner table,” says Anahid Brakke of San Diego Hunger Coalition and Co-Chair of the Hunger Advocacy Network. “These legislators are standing up for the food security and independence all military families deserve.”
The problem is so pervasive in San Diego County that every month, anti-hunger organizations hold at least eleven emergency food distributions focused on active duty military families, including distributions on Camp Pendleton.
“Hunger Advocacy Network is immensely grateful for these legislators’ leadership in the fight to eliminate the disparity between military service families who live on base and those who live off base,” says Daniela Solano of the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank and Hunger Advocacy Network Co-Chair. “The Hunger Advocacy Network will continue to partner with Congress to ensure our country supports every San Diego military family with the food they need to live active, healthy lives.”
Hunger Advocacy Network held its Legislative Champions Reception at the Marina Village Conference Center. Nearly 60 guests from across the county/state were in attendance to honor the awardees.
For more information on Hunger Advocacy Network, please visit its website.