Advocacy, Education/Resources, Stories

“Food access is the foundation for transitioning back to civilian life”

Adam Ingrao, farmer and Veterans’ Liaison with MSU Extension, experienced firsthand the struggle to return home after military service and to find purpose—something many veterans experience. In Adam’s role at MSU Extension and with his farming business, he works to connect veterans with benefits to help them transition from military service to civilian life—and for some veterans, this is an incredibly difficult transition.

Food Access is Foundation for Repairing Lives

“There are veterans in this state without support systems or family,” says Adam. “Benefits like SNAP are critical to them.”

To help veterans transition back, Adam started a veteran network in Michigan to help veterans understand the suite of benefits/services they can receive through MSU Extension and help them through the process of applying for benefits like SNAP, and help remove the stigma attached. MSUE’s SNAP Outreach Assistant Network helps connect veterans to comrades who can help them navigate a difficult time in their life.

Continuing Camaraderie Post-Service

“Food access is the foundation to anything when it comes to building people up. You can’t “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” if you don’t know where your next meal is coming from,” says Adam. “Healthy food is the starting place to make your life and your family’s life better.”

Nationwide, nearly 1.4 million veterans access SNAP benefits; in Michigan, about 50,000 use SNAP. Without SNAP many veterans would go hungry, as resources known before deployment may no longer be available. Protecting SNAP in the Farm Bill means protecting resources for the men and women who fought to help us keep those resources.

For more information on SNAP use among veterans, check out CBPP’s recent research.

If you are a veteran in need, or know a veteran in need, contact Adam Ingrao at ingraoad@msu.edu or 951-237-5311

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