“We’re Trained to Survive.”: Veterans’ Experiences Seeking Food Assistance

2/1/2024 –


Purpose. Food insecurity threatens veterans’ health, yet little is known about their experiences seeking food assistance. Thus, we studied veterans’ experiences as they navigated from food insecurity to food assistance. Methods. We built a journey map using thematic analysis of interviews with 30 veterans experiencing food insecurity. Findings. The map focuses on: (1) identifying contributing circumstances, (2) recognizing food insecurity, (3) finding help, and (4) obtaining assistance. Contributing circumstances included unemployment/under-employment, mental health challenges, and interpersonal violence. Veterans did not recall being screened for food insecurity. Military training also inhibited some veterans from recognizing their own food insecurity. Locating and accessing food assistance was a struggle. While many veterans applied for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, few qualified. Food pantries were a last resort. Conclusions. Opportunities to help veterans include (1) addressing contributing circumstances, (2) improving identification, (3) sharing knowledge of resources, and (4) reexamining sufficiency of food assistance programs.

Read the Full Article at Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved


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