A new free grocery and healthy eating event may be coming to a military installation near you thanks to Operation Homefront and grants from the Walmart Foundation.
The Growing Healthy Military Families campaign will visit 15 military bases from Colorado to the East Coast. Participants will get to receive a free basket packet with healthy foods while learning about tips and tricks for eating well, including doing so on a tight budget.
"Our military families, particularly the lower- and mid-grade service members that Operation Homefront serves, face significant budget challenges where eating healthy can often fall victim to available time and perceived cost," said Tim Farrell, Chief Operating Officer for the nonprofit in as statement released by the organization. "Eating healthy doesn't have to be expensive or time consuming. We want to help military families find ways to have a healthy lifestyle that goes hand-in-hand with the financial sustainability that is the focus of our emergency food and financial assistance."
A recent report on hunger in America said that 25 percent of households with a military member use food banks. The report sparked a series of rebuttles from the Defense Department as well as a cascade of questions regarding its methologoy and definitions, but nonetheless highlighted a need to help some military families not just with food assistance, but with food budgeting.
The Operation Homefront event does both of those things. According to the release, families who attend will "learn how to choose healthy foods at the supermarket; avoid reliance on pre-package and heavily processed foods; plan and create healthy, tasty meals and snacks; get the most out of their grocery budget; and learn to grow herbs and vegetables in their own gardens."
Each family will also take home a food basket filled with healthy items, a cookbook or gift card and a starter kit for growing herbs or vegetables.
Like many Operation Homefront events, registration is limited to E1 to E6, although locations are available to higher pay grades.
Here are the areas lucky enough to be on the receiving end of the Growing Healthy Military Families event.
- Colorado Springs, Colorado - Oct. 18, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
- Mount Vernon, Illinois - Oct. 25, 9 a.m.-12 p.m., 1 p.m.-4 p.m.
- Ft Wayne, Indiana - TBD
- New Albany, Indiana - TBD
- Fort Knox, Kentucky - Oct. 16, 6-8 p.m.; Oct. 17, 9-11 a.m.
- Fort Campbell, Kentucky - Oct. 24, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
- Dorchester, Massachusetts - Oct. 25, 10 a.m.- p.m., 3-6 p.m.
- Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri - Nov. 1, 8 a.m.-12 p.m., 1-5 p.m.
- Taylor, Michigan - Nov. 2, 12-2 p.m., 4-6 p.m.
- Battle Creek, Michigan - Nov. 8, 12-2 p.m., 4-6 p.m.
- Lawton/Fort Sill, Oklahoma - Nov. 1, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
- Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma - Nov. 8 , 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
- Horsham, Pennsylvania - Nov. 1, 12-3 p.m.
- Annville, Pennsylvania - Nov. 8, 1-4 p.m.
Photos courtesy U.S. Air Force.