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USM Veterans Center Continues in Helping Veterans, Families Facing Food Insecurity Needs

For the second time over the last year, The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) Center for Military Veterans, Service Members and Families, in collaboration with the Mississippi Community Veterans Engagement Board (CVEB), has been awarded a Bob Woodruff Foundation stimulus grant for $10,000.

This generous gift is provided to support efforts at combatting food insecurity for South Mississippi student-veterans and local military veterans.

This grant will serve 50 local military veterans with a maximum individual benefit of $200 per individual allowing them to gain access to nutritious foods in promoting a healthy lifestyle. Each Veteran participating in the program is awarded a $200.00 Gift Card for the purchase of healthy foods at the Corner Market Grocery Store.

The Corner Market management staff has worked closely with USM and the MS Community Veterans Engagement Board to meet the needs of our local veterans participating in this program.

According to the U.S Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) and numerous independent researchers, nearly 1.5 million military veterans in the United States are living below the federal poverty level, whereas an additional 2.4 million veterans are living “paycheck to paycheck.”  Military veterans living in poverty are at even higher risk than nonveterans for food insecurity, homelessness, and other material hardship.

Independent VA-related research estimates food insecurity among veterans vary widely, ranging from 6 percent to 24 percent (nearly twice that of the general US population).  In fact, higher rates of food insecurity have been reported among high-risk subgroups including Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans (27 percent), female Veterans (28 percent), homeless and formerly homeless veterans (49 percent), and veterans with serious mental illness (35 percent).

Documented research further indicates additional risk factors for food insecurity specific to Veteran populations include younger age, recent departure from active-duty military service, and lower final military paygrade. Veteran food insecurity is associated with a range of adverse health outcomes including poor overall health status and delayed or missed care.