In recent years, the problem of food scarcity has only worsened with the coronavirus pandemic. In response, the Military Family Advisory Network performed their own research and found that an average of 1 in 8 respondents to their national surveys were experiencing food insecurity. In some areas, this problem increased to 1 in 5 people. In response to these findings, MFAN founded the 1 Million Meals Challenge this past April to ensure that no Military Family will have to worry about where their next meal is coming from.
In their 1 Million Meals Challenge, MFAN has set a goal of distributing a million meals to Military Families in need. As of this June, over 300,000 meals had been distributed and a more recent count from mid-October cited 625,000 meals distributed since April. MFAN is intentionally centering outreach around higher-risk areas, including Texas, Virginia, California, North Carolina, Washington, Florida, and New York to ensure that the service is available to those who need the help most.
Though the challenge itself focuses on meal distribution, MFAN also has a goal of increasing military awareness and community through their efforts. The military experience is challenging enough without the added burden of food insecurity, and the 1 Million Meals Challenge is a part of MFAN’s immediate solution that connects Families not just to meals, but to research, resources, and long-term connections.
In their own words, “We are committed to providing both big-picture solutions and immediate on-the-ground assistance to Military Families in need across the country.” By equipping Families with both immediate and long-lasting solutions, MFAN is addressing a need that Military Families often shy away from expressing.
As always, Army Emergency Relief encourages Soldiers and their Families to reach out for a hand up when they need it. Organizations like AER and MFAN exist to distribute resources to Soldiers and Families who need them and ensure that our military forces can focus on the mission at hand.
For those interested in giving Military Families in need a helping hand through the 1 Million Meals Challenge, MFAN is hosting in-person food distribution events in areas with the highest need. There are also plenty of opportunities for those who are not in the specified outreach areas. Online opportunities include educational events about community feeding, Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT), and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). You can also donate on the MFAN site, or go there to find more information on resources, research, personal testimonies, and more.
To learn more about the 1 Million Meals Challenge, visit their website.
The above information was compiled as credited. Links throughout do not equal endorsements.