Meals to be distributed to military families Tuesday

Boy Scouts help pack bags of food at the Killeen Food Care Center in November before Thanksgiving. The center is taking part in an effort to provide food for military families for the Christmas season as well.

The Killeen Food Care Center came though for area families for Thanksgiving, and along with other organizations and companies, is gearing up to do so again for the Christmas holiday.

On Tuesday, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., the center, located at 210 N. 16th Street in Killeen, will host another holiday distribution event. More than 500 military families near Fort Hood will be able receive holiday meals thanks to a partnership between the Military Family Advisory Network (MFAN), Tyson Foods, H-E-B, the Food Care Center, and The Moody Foundation, according to a news release.

The food assistance comes just one month after a MFAN study found food insecurity among military families stationed in Texas is among the highest in the nation, with one in six military family respondents experiencing low food security or hunger.

“No military family should worry about where their next meal is coming from, especially during the holidays,” said Shannon Razsadin, president and executive director for MFAN said in the release. “MFAN’s collaboration with Tyson Foods, H-E-B, The Moody Foundation, and the Food Care Center is just one of the ways we are working to find solutions and care for military families in Texas and across the nation.”

The food distribution is being made possible by donations from Tyson Foods and H-E-B. Tyson is donating 40,000 lbs. of chicken for the event.

In line with the retailers Helping Here philosophy, H-E-B is proud to serve fellow Texans by providing 500 reusable bags of canned goods and nonperishable food to round out the holiday meal, with the Moody Foundation providing a grant of $100,000 to support MFAN’s direct food assistance and research efforts, the release said.

Roughly 25% of the families the Killeen Food Center serves are military members, due to the organization’s proximity to Fort Hood.

“Sometimes there’s a stigma among military families about asking for assistance when they need it,” said Raymond Cockrell, executive director for the center in the release. “We hope that our support will encourage these families to reach out for help and know that their community is here for them.”

Johnny Mojica, H-E-B public affairs specialist, added his company is proud to partner with Military Family Advisory Network and the Food Care Center this holiday season.

“H-E-B is committed to supporting our communities and helping military families in need with the necessary resources to avoid hunger this holiday season as well as throughout the year,” Mojica said in the release.

MFAN’s State of Texas Report, which was released on Nov. 19, distills experiences from Texas respondents from MFAN’s national survey, which includes 7,785 military and veteran respondents from all 50 states, 22 countries, and two U.S. territories. The largest demographic group of respondents was from Texas. The U.S. military is an integral part of the Texas economy – the economic impact of military installations in the state of Texas was $123.6 billion in 2019. With 15 military installations, and as home to Army Futures Command, Texas has a vested interest in being viewed as the best home for military service members and their families, the release said.

“Like so many Americans, thousands of military families will gather this holiday season to reflect on a challenging year and celebrate their blessings,” said Debra Vernon, senior director, corporate social responsibility for Tyson Foods. “We hope this donation will make those gatherings even more special and provide one less worry.”

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