KILLEEN, Texas — According to the Associated Press, over 160 thousand military members have trouble feeding their families nationwide. Experts are calling the issues around hunger a "hidden crisis." For Fort Hood area families in Bell County, those sentiments remain true.
Military Spouse Leslie Hufstedler- Lavriez experienced it firsthand saying, "it is hard to make ends meet sometimes.”
She also said that families often enter the military at a young age and “don't often have a steady background of knowing how to handle finances, and they're kind of tossed into knowing how to adult really.”
In 2019 the Military Family Advisory Network found that 1 in 8 Fort Hood Killeen-area families are facing food insecurity; the highest rates in the country. The MFAN’s recent study showed that those numbers are increasing.
Shanna Smith, senior manager of external relations said “1 in 5 survey respondents experiencing food insecurity in the military tells us that Fort Hood and the Killeen-area are really important."
Such results drove their decision for continuous support in Killeen throughout 2022.
MFAN immediately joined forces with local and national partners to help military families in need, including the Food Care Center, which packaged all the food that was served to the families.
Executive Director Raymond Cockrell said after receiving over 40 thousand pounds (about twice the weight of a school bus) of chicken from Tyson, that “it's a teamwork process, we started over two years ago and if we don't stop messing around, we are going to get good at it."
Their mission is to continue to meet military families where they are.
"When those men and women wear the cloth of the nation on the frontline, we have to take care of them and their families. That is really important," said and urged Celebrity Chef Robert Irvine.
MFAN plans to host more food distribution events for military families in Fort Hood for the remainder of the year. You can visit their website here for more information.