Veterans among those battling hunger

Staff Report

A fourth of households asking for hunger relief from Second Harvest Food Bank of North Central Ohio contain a veteran or active military member.

North Central Ohio sees more than 64,000 people turn each year to hunger programs, the nonprofit agency says.

The Valor Home in Lorain, which shelters homeless veterans for up to two years, is part of that network. Second Harvest helped feed its residents when the home opened just before Christmas 2014, and so far in 2016 the home has served 13,698 meals.

Hunger in America, a study conducted every four years, was led by Second Harvest in partnership with Feeding America, the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief organization. Nationally, the most recent study found that among the more than 46 million people who turn to hunger-relief programs of the Feeding America network of food banks every year were many veterans.

“Our veterans have sacrificed so much to keep us all safe, so it’s troubling to know that they struggle with food insecurity,” said Julie Chase-Morefield, executive director of Second Harvest Food Bank of North Central Ohio. “We owe it to them to shed light on the plight of veterans and do more to help those who proudly served our country.”

Here’s some food for thought:

• Four in five households report purchasing inexpensive, unhealthy food because they could not afford healthier options.

• Two in three households report having to choose between paying for food and paying for medicine or medical care.

• Nearly one in three households include a member with diabetes.

• More than two in three households had income at or below the federal poverty level, forcing them to make sacrifices between one necessity and another — two-thirds saying it meant choosing between food or utilities, between food or transportation, or between food and medicine or treatment. More than half said they had to choose between food and housing.

Staff Report