Survey: Record number of military families on food stamps - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Record number of military families on food stamps, Ark-La-Tex Army wife responds

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MARSHALL, TX (KSLA) -
A new study reports a rise in military families needing assistance. The report isn't a surprise to one Ark-La-Tex military spouse, who says it wasn't too long ago when her husband was a new soldier. 

"On basic pay with small children, especially a brand new baby, you can't make it, period," said Kami McDonald, a Marshall, TX resident, whose husband enlisted in the Army in 2007. McDonald had a baby shortly after that and it didn't take long for them to realize their new family would struggle financially.

"The income he was receiving was not enough," said McDonald and explained she felt ashamed, but had no other choice but to sign up for food stamps. "It was very frustrating, there were times where we didn't eat. I've watched spouses not eat, to feed their kids, to put food on their tables," she said.

The McDonald's situation isn't unique. A survey by the Military Officers Association found more military families depended on assistance in 2013. The survey also reports that nearly $104 million worth of food stamps were used at military commissaries. 

McDonald believes the issue stems from cuts coming from the nation's capitol. "It just seems like every time something happens, we are the ones being affected," she said and added that she believes those who put their lives on the line deserve  better, including her husband, currently serving in Afghanistan.

7 years and three deployments later, the McDonald family no longer need food stamps, but she wants other basic pay military spouses who are struggling to know, it will get better. "There is light at the end of the tunnel, there is. It's just getting past that hump that they have to get past," she said.

One reason the survey suggests for the increase is a 30 percent unemployment rate among active-duty military spouses. The association says spouses who relocate every few years have a harder time finding work in the private sector.

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