The Department of Veterans Affairs will institute a new plan to help vets going hungry, The Washington Post reports.
A research paper in Public Health Nutrition, a peer-reviewed journal from Cambridge University Press, found that of 2,000 U.S. military veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001 surveyed, "over one in four veterans reported past-year food insecurity with 12 percent reporting very low food security."
The VA's new program "is a huge step forward, to just ask the question," according to Josh Protas, head of government relations for Mazon, an anti-hunger advocacy group that pushed the department to work on a screening program to help hungry vets. "We're hoping that VA will continue building on that."
The department first set up a pilot program in June, coordinating with Feeding America to establish small pantries at almost a dozen medical facilities. The Post reports that the agency plans to train employees on food insecurity regularly, according to acting director of VA Nutrition and Food Services, and will work to improve similar programs to feed vets.
"We'd like to get that issue resolved as soon as possible," Protas added. "Needless to say, it's important."
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