An American Shame’: ‘CBS Evening News Continues Coverage of Military Family Food Insecurity

WASHINGTON

“The CBS Evening News With Norah O’Donnell” once again looked at military family food insecurity during one of its reports on the Dec. 7 broadcast, stating that such conditions continue, but with a glimmer of hope possibly in sight.

 

Leading into the report, O’Donnell stated that viewers had donated more than $600,000 so that military families could put food on their tables, which was based on earlier reports that the show did on this subject.

 

O’Donnell said that the Military Family Advisory Network (MFAN) will, next week, distribute the one-millionth meal from the money raised.

 

FOOD GIVEAWAY

The report, helmed by reporter Mark Strassmann, looked at Navy wife Abigail Kennedy, who said, “I make sure that my kids have food on the table,” as she and her three young children are driving to a food giveaway.

 

“We go to events like these so they help fill our stock while times are rough,” Kennedy explained.

 

Near NAS Oceana, Va., Strassmann showed viewers a food giveaway for military families that need such help. He called the need for such an event for needy military families “an American shame.”

 

At this event, the MFAM gave 680 families frozen chicken and produce, 60-lbs. worth of food to help them get by, at least for now.

 

“Our kids would eat Cheerios some days because that is all that we have,” Kennedy said.

 

MILITARY FAMILIES FIGHTING HUNGER

The Feeding America organization estimated that 160,000 military families fight hunger, and especially vulnerable were junior enlisted ranks, with Strassmann stating that almost 30 percent of them needed such help.

 

“How can you focus on the mission when your family can’t even survive?” Kennedy asked.

 

CBS first started covering this problem back in February, and the causes remain the same: low wages, frequent moves, and high unemployment among military spouses.

 

Also, as Strassmann said, “A stigma borne strictly of denial.”

 

“I would never go to my husband’s command — never,” Kennedy said.

 

DoD “BATTLE PLAN”

This is a situation which Strassmann noted is “changing slowly.” For the first time, the Department of Defense (DoD) recently commissioned what was described as a “90-day battle plan” identifying hungry military families and connecting them with help.

 

“Our men and women in uniform and their families have enough to worry about,” said Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin. “Basic necessities like food and housing shouldn’t be among them.”

 

However, Kennedy said she is skeptical about this plan.

 

“How long do you think that will trickle down to service members and their families?” she asked. “I will be very surprised if we see anything in the next year.”

 

“This event fed 680 families,” Strassmann said. “Most will need help again.

 

“You can only live so long on resilience.”

 

The report can be accessed at https://www.cbsnews.com/video/thousands-of-military-families-face-food-insecurity/

 

(Note: Once again, the report did not mention anything about military resale’s efforts to lessen food insecurity, nor its programs to hire military spouses and family members and include them in their ranks.)

 

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