USM Veterans Center and Bob Woodruff Foundation Helping Veterans and their Families
Mon, 07/18/2022 - 10:45am | By: Van Arnold
The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) Center for Military Veterans, Service Members and Families has been awarded a Bob Woodruff Foundation stimulus grant for $10,000 to assist veterans and their families struggling with food insecurity related issues.
This marks the third time such a unique and special grant has been gratefully received by the USM Veterans Center. As a Bob Woodruff Foundation Local Partner, the USM Veterans Center serves as a state-wide leading advocate in helping the campus and local communities better understand Veteran-related food insecurity matters, and more important, assist veterans with their critical nutritional needs.
The grant will serve at least 33 local military veterans with a maximum individual benefit of $300 per individual allowing them to gain access to quality and nutritious foods in developing a healthy lifestyle. Each veteran participating in the program is awarded a $300 gift card through the USM Veterans Center for the purchase of nutritiously healthy foods at the Hattiesburg-area Corner Market Grocery Store. The Corner Market staff has graciously worked closely with USM veteran-leaders to meet the needs of local veterans and their families participating in this program.
Food insecurity has emerged as a significant national crisis. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, one in eight veteran and military households struggled with food insecurity issues. According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, “New data has shed light on the extent and nature of food insecurity among U.S. military families and veterans. Research shows that U.S. military families and veterans experience food insecurity at higher rates than the general population, and COVID-19 has only amplified the problem.”
According to a RAND Corporation study, “Estimates of food insecurity among veterans from before the pandemic varied widely, from 6.4 percent to 24 percent. That highest figure would be more than twice the rate of food insecurity of the general US population.
A recent U.S. Department of Agriculture analysis looked at data between 2015 and 2019 and found that 11.1 percent of working-age veterans lived in food-insecure households, and 5.3 percent lived in households with very low food security, meaning at least some people in the household were missing meals or eating less than a full meal. Anecdotal reports suggest COVID-19 only made things worse.”
“We are decisively engaged Bob Woodruff Foundation partners doing all we can to care for veterans and their families. Our goal is always to do more and place the needs of Veterans foremost in every situation,” said Maj. Gen. (Retired) Jeff Hammond, USM Veterans Center Director. “As a Bob Woodruff Foundation local partner, our shared mission is to increase the capacity of South Mississippi communities to serve in achieving greater well-being for veterans and their families.
“As in the past, we are thankful to the Bob Woodruff Foundation and Craig Newmark Philanthropies for this funding and their amazing support. We eagerly look forward to doing more in supporting all our service members, veterans, and their families.”
To learn more about the USM Veterans Center, call 601-264-4629 or visit: www.usm.edu/military-veterans.