Soldiers at Fort Hood military base are having a hard time putting food on the table. Many are returning home from Iraq—soldiers from the base have had a strong presence there since capturing Saddam Hussein in 2003—to a salary that can barely support a family.
The Killeen Food Care Center is becoming a last resort for a decent meal. “It’s a lot of them that come here, but they change their clothes because I guess it’s embarrassing,” Sgt. Sandy Cornet told Jeremy Schwartz of the Austin American-Statesman. “A lot don’t like to ask for help.”
A private first class with four years of experience makes $23,744 in base pay, which straddles the $23,050 poverty line for a family of four, and this epidemic will only get worse, as the end of the war in Iraq means an influx of troops to the base. “We get a surge whenever there is a group returning from overseas,” said John Ott, pantry administrator for the Killeen Food Care Center.