While vaccine distribution efforts bring new hope for economic recovery, millions of Americans, including military-veteran communities, are still reeling from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Food insecurity has emerged as a national crisis. Even before the pandemic, 1 in 8 veteran and military households experienced food insecurity. To combat the devastating impact of COVID-19 for veterans and their families, today the Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF) announced a $536,000 investment in stimulus funding to 62 local partners. The funding, made possible by Craig Newmark Philanthropies, will be used to support the needs of veterans in communities across the country with an emphasis on fighting food insecurity.
The Bob Woodruff Foundation built and actively manages the nation’s largest and fastest-growing nongovernmental network of community leaders committed to the successful integration of veterans, including over 100 local partners representing over 2,400 organizations committing to serving veterans in almost every state. By working with these local partners and understanding insights about the veterans they support, the Foundation has developed a picture of community-level challenges and taken action to address the most urgent concerns. With this recent funding, the Foundation has now invested over $1 million to help their local partner network provide much-needed support for the 11.5 million veterans they serve.
“Food is such a basic human need. But as our local partners have shown us, it’s about much more than the food. When we help fund resources like a grocery store gift card or a box of farm fresh produce, it’s a way of affirming: ‘We’ve got your six. Your community is looking out for you, and we’re going to get through this together,’” said Anne Marie Dougherty, CEO of the Bob Woodruff Foundation. “Our partners keep sharing stories that reflect a sense of relief. One family said ‘It felt like we were finally able to breathe again.’”
This most recent round of funding will be distributed in increments of $3,000, $5,000, and $10,000, and will help local partners provide resources to veterans experiencing concerns related to financial wellness and food insecurity. Items such as fresh food deliveries, grocery store gift cards, agricultural training, financial assistance and more will be granted to veterans and military families in an effort to reduce the growing crisis of food insecurity within these communities.
“Military service requires a lot from our service members, veterans, and their families. But getting enough to eat is one area where they shouldn’t have to sacrifice,” said Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist and Craig Newmark Philanthropies. “That’s why I’m making sure that expert organizations like the Bob Woodruff Foundation and their national network of partners are empowered to help people put food on their plates today, to help fill their pantries for tomorrow, and to influence major, systems-level changes to fight food insecurity in America.”
For more information about the Bob Woodruff Foundation’s local partner network, visit localpartnernetwork.bobwoodrufffoundation.org/.