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NEWS | Nov. 9, 2021

Military Family Advisory Network teams up with U.S. Army Reserve for 1 Million Meal Challenge

By Sgt. 1st Class Javier Orona U.S. Army Reserve Command

The Military Family Advisory Network (MFAN) sponsored a food distribution for hundreds of Army Families here Oct. 23.

The drive-through event, part of the organization’s 1 Million Meals Challenge, was an effort to assist military families who are experiencing food poverty. MFAN partnered with volunteers from Manna Church to distribute meals.

In April, MFAN launched the challenge that includes food distribution mobilizations in four geographic areas that researchers named as having the greatest need: Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Fort Hood, Texas; Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington; and Norfolk, Virginia.

Lt. Gen. Jody Daniels, chief of Army Reserve and commanding general, U.S. Army Reserve Command, was in attendance with her spouse, retired Col. John McCarthy, to aid in packing and distributing the meals.

“Soldiers and Families remain our number one priority, and food insecurity is a significant issue for some of our team members,” said Daniels. “I want to do all I can to provide solutions to the challenges of food insecurity here and throughout the Army Reserve footprint.”

MFAN states that it has been tracking the issues of food insecurity and hunger in the military community for years. The organization’s research shows that some military families, with specific circumstances, have been dealing with food insecurity for years.

According to findings, 1 in 8 of nationwide survey respondents faced food insecurity in 2019.

Research also found that the COVID-19 outbreak exacerbated food insecurity among military families.

“As the senior Army Reserve spouse, one of the first things I became aware of as I looked into ways to support Soldiers and Families, was that there’s a lot of food insecurity,” said McCarthy. “It’s hard to focus on work – or anything else for that matter – when you don’t know where your next meal is coming from.”

MFAN says the organization is devoted to delivering both long-term solutions and urgent, on-the-ground aid to military families in need across the country. Part of this effort is hosting food distribution events, connecting families with resources, and continuing research.

Army Reserve Family Programs have also taken another step in supporting Soldiers who are searching for additional resources if they fall upon hard times.

“I’m very excited to share Family Programs’ new interactive map of food resources in every state,” said McCarthy. “All you need to do is click on the state, and it takes you to a page with available food resources—food pantries, WIC (Women, Infants and Children), SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) … you name it.”

Soldiers may view the interactive map, as well as other Army Reserve Family Programs initiatives, by going to https://www.usar.army.mil/ARFP/ and navigating to the resource they need.