Why so many veterans go hungry — and VA’s new plan to fix it
The Washington Post
By CAITLIN DEWEY
Published: October 9, 2017
Most strikingly,a 2015 paper published in the journal Public Health Nutrition found that veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars suffer from food insecurity at more than double the national rate of 12 percent.
When Greg Stegall left the Navy at 30 years old, he found himself utterly adrift: a single dad with no degree, no clear plans for the future and a short résumé in a down job market. Struggling to find work, Stegall put his son in a boarding school for poor children and asked his parents for money and food.
Nearly 30 years later, Stegall — now 58 — oversees a program at a Pennsylvania food bank that delivers meals to hungry veterans. But he still regularly sees other vets in similar situations.
Military advocates have long warned that certain groups of veterans suffer extreme rates of hunger. Those include veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — 27 percent of whom have struggled to put food on the table.
Now, in a first-of-its-kind program, the Department of Veterans Affairs will screen all vets who visit its health-care facilities for hunger, asking them whether they've struggled to afford food in the past three months. That's welcome news to Stegall and other advocates, who say vets are especially hard to reach because they're often unwilling to seek help.
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Now think about these guys doing what they do and what they get paid!