Food giveaway to combat military hunger expected to draw nearly 1,000 families

ByMonique John via WTVD logo
Friday, September 9, 2022
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Military Family Advisory Network is hosting a food giveaway in Fayetteville Saturday for military families.

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- One in six military families is food insecure, according to a national survey conducted by the Military Family Advisory Network (MFAN). That is why the organization is hosting a food distribution event in Fayetteville on Saturday, September 10 from 9 am to 1 pm.

The food giveaway comes just in time for Hunger Action Month, a time in which advocates raise awareness about poverty and other issues causing hunger.

Eight hundred families are expected to come to Manna Church on Cliffdale Road for food and supplies, and another 150 families are on the waitlist. According to organizers, that's an indicator of how broadly food insecurity is harming families in the area.

"When you're hungry, you're not able to function," said Derek Doyle, the Associate Director of Government and Public Affairs of MFAN. "You're not able to excel in school, excel in the workplace. So, there are definitely second and third order effects that come along with food insecurity."

This is the fourth food distribution event MFAN has held with Manna Church since June 2021. Doyle explained hardships that come along with military life such as frequently having to move, and often living on just one income for the whole family are usually the reasons why people go hungry. He said the food being given away is a crucial lifeline for vulnerable families, as it helps them function in everyday life.

"Each one that's going to come through tomorrow is going to receive over 50 pounds of frozen protein, seasonal produce and household items all at no cost. So, this is the equivalent of $200 to $300 worth of groceries that's going to make their life a little bit easier for a month," Doyle said.

"Sometimes we do need help," said Jordan Gill, Admissions and Outreach Director of Manna Church. "And especially in our current economic climate with inflation and gas and food prices being what they are, I think it is harder now than it has been in a long time to get some of these items that normally were easier. So, it's okay to look for avenues and organizations that are there to help you out."

CVS Health and Tyson Foods are also partners in the drive-through event. It's part of MFAN's Combat Military Hunger initiative, a nationwide effort to mitigate food insecurity in military and veteran populations. Doyle said he is proud of his team's accomplishments in serving communities. Well over one million meals have reached more than 10,000 families, but he hopes they can soon stop fighting this battle.

"The dream is to not have to organize events like this for our families, so they don't have to rely on non-profits to ensure that there's food on the table for families," Doyle said.

Manna Church said families shouldn't be discouraged if they can't make it to the food distribution event. Those looking for support can come to the Manna Dream Center in Downtown Fayetteville on Raye Avenue all year long.