A new study suggests that 25 percent of troops in active duty, Guard and the Reserve use food banks to provide groceries and meals for themselves or their families.
The study sponsored by Feeding America, the nation's largest food bank network, is conducted once every four years and was based on data collected in 2012. It found that four percent of surveyed households who used a food bank contained a currently serving military member.
Based on those results, Feeding America officials estimated that 620,000 of their 46.5 million customers, or about 25 percent of the military population in 2012, used food banks.
"We find it disheartening," said Maura Daly, a spokesman for Feeding America. "We know from our food banks anecdotally that they have seen a dramatic increase in the number of military families that they are serving over the last several years. We weren't surprised that the need is there. We were a little surprised by how much need is there, and we believe that this is just the beginning of understanding this issue."
The study did not differentiate between Guard and Reserve or active duty members, creating no way to tell what portion of the four percent are inactive guard or Reservists, who may have vastly different monthly income and different assistance needs as compared to active duty members.