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Free Food Bank Event at Military Circle Mall for Military Families

The Military Family Advisory Network is behind the drive-through food bank. It's something they've done before, and they expected more than 800 families to show up.

NORFOLK, Va. — The Military Family Advisory Network (MFAN) hosted a drive-thru food distribution for military and veteran families Saturday.

Organizers were expecting more than 800 families to show up for free food and resources at Military Circle Mall.

This is the latest effort by the MFAN to combat military hunger which they say is an ongoing problem. Eligible families had to register in advance to take part.

According to the MFAN, each family can expect to receive more than 50 pounds of food – including protein, produce, canned goods, and household products.

In an interview with 13News Now military reporter Mike Gooding in September, MFAN President and Executive Director Shannon Razsadin talked about the contributing reasons for the problem, which include military members' constant moves and resulting spouse under-employment.

"We're not choosing to move. It's not just because we like to do it for for fun. It's because this is what the country requires us to do," she said. 

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Razsadin went on to say that another reason is military members' pride.

"One of the key challenges I think we really are poised to address is stigma related to it," she said. "There is this culture of resilience in the military community [that] can make it really hard for people to ask for help."

The DOD this year produced the "Strengthening Food Security in the Force: Strategy and Roadmap."

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According to a survey conducted by the MFAN, one in six military family respondents say they experienced food insecurity.

The MFAN said in a press release: "This is an improvement on the one in five during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, but worse than the one in eight in 2019."

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Since May 2021, the MFAN and its partners have distributed more than 1.4 million meals to more than 10,000 military families across the country.

The MFAN hosted a similar drive-through food bank at Military Circle Mall back in May when they helped 800 families. Before that, they fed 700 families at Military Circle Mall in September 2021. 

The event ran form 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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