Health & Fitness

Military families are increasingly turning to food banks during the pandemic

Members of the U.S. navy are more and more turning to meals banks to feed their households. Some households stated they could not final per week with out visiting the meals pantries. 

Desiree Alvarez, her 3-year-old son Elijah and 6-year-old daughter Marysol have needed to depend on meals banks to outlive in the course of the coronavirus pandemic. 

“We’re navy, however we’re struggling,” Alvarez stated. “That is the primary time that I’ve constantly needed to go to a meals financial institution time and again.” 

Her husband is an E-3 personal at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, also called JBLM. They dwell in Tacoma, Washington, which is pricey for a household of 4 residing on $2,300 a month. 

“We could not go a full week with out having to go get assist from a meals pantry,” Alvarez stated. “These youngsters are value it, like our household is value it. We’re value getting the assistance that we’d like.” 

About half-hour away, Thurston County’s meals financial institution serves 1,500 navy households, a 22% spike for the reason that pandemic started. 

Lieutenant Colonel J.P. Smith, a chaplain at JBLM, stated the pandemic stated navy spouses have struggled to search out work in the course of the disaster. 

“You’re taking a partner who’s usually working, unable to search out work due to the COVID pandemic,” he stated. “In the event that they lose that second revenue, that is a blow to anyone.” 

Alvarez had employment till the navy transferred her household to Tacoma a 12 months in the past. Their monetary cushion collapsed when the household’s revenue plunged by greater than half. 

The Division of Protection estimates the jobless fee for navy spouses is 22%. Different estimates run as excessive as 35%. In San Diego, households utilizing the meals financial institution on the Armed Companies YMCA surged 400% p.c in the course of the pandemic.

Shannon Razsadin, president and government director of the Navy Household Advisory Community, stated the pandemic has “exacerbated” the problem for navy households. 

“What many individuals do not know is that navy households transfer, on common, each two-and-a-half years. And each time households transfer, there is a full restart. Which means searching for a brand new job, discovering new childcare, getting arrange with new faculties, discovering a brand new house,” Razsadin stated. “And with COVID, households have continued to maneuver. And once you transfer in a market the place you possibly do not have as many housing choices or the employment scenario is not what it was once, it has actually created further issues for navy households.” 

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