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Food Insecurity: How Stigma Can Impact Data

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This is our last episode in our We Heart Data series. Tune in later this summer as we return to military family stories, highlighting the areas of stigma faced by our community. One of those often stigmatized areas is food insecurity.

Food insecurity touches many military families – particularly those in the junior enlisted ranks. But one of the challenges of collecting good data on the issue is that the label carries a weighty stigma. Two advocates share what even the limited data on the topic tells us about food insecurity in the military, and a military spouse shares her own experiences of needing financial assistance to feed her family.

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“It’s an issue that doesn’t get talked about so much, and I think the more that we can have open and frank conversations, we help to normalize the idea and hopefully chip away at that stigma. Because families who need help should never be afraid or ashamed to have to ask for it.”

-Josh Protas

Host: Jennifer Barnhill, Partners in PROMISE

Guests: Josh Protas, MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger & Kelley Klor, Blue Star Families

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If you or a family member is in need of resources or mental health support contact Military OneSource for a free consultation.

About Our Guests

Josh Protas

Josh Protas is the vice president of public policy and heads the Washington, D.C. office for MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger. In this role, which he assumed in 2012, Josh coordinates and implements MAZON’s advocacy agenda, including efforts to protect and strengthen the federal nutrition safety net, with particular emphasis on the food security needs for seniors, veterans and military families. Josh has extensive experience working at Jewish communal agencies at both the local and national levels, including as director of the Jewish Community Relations Council at the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona and as vice president and Washington director for the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. He previously served as a member of the board of directors for the Coalition on Human Needs and currently participates as part of the Vote Advisory Council for Food Policy Action. Josh earned his master’s degree in western American history and public history from Arizona State University and his bachelor’s in American studies and French literature from Wesleyan University.

Kelley Klor

Kelley Klor is an Amazon Food Insecurity DEPLOY fellow at Blue Star Families and has been an active-duty Air Force spouse for more than 13 years and is from Missouri. Kelley has a passion for helping military spouses navigate the world of military life, including experience ranging from serving as a key spouse in a previous squadron to program management. During her fellowship, Kelley started Nourish the Service, a resource page and blog dedicated to sharing information regarding food and financial resources, educational resources, current legislative action, and current research around food insecurity. The Nourish the Service blog highlights different topics within military food insecurity with a goal to destigmatize and elevate awareness around the issue. Prior to joining Blue Star Families, Kelley worked as a program manager with an educational nonprofit organization, managing an eight-week-long apprenticeship and internship opportunities for underrepresented students in Boston. Kelley also worked as an administrative coordinator for a prairie conservation foundation and native plant organization in Missouri. Kelley has a bachelor’s degree in biological science from the Missouri University of Science and Technology and is working toward a master’s degree in library and information science from the University of Missouri. Kelley lives with her husband, two daughters, and two cats in northern Virginia and enjoys hiking and exploring the area around her with her family. As a family, the Klors value volunteerism and experiential learning opportunities such as blacksmithing, makerspace activities, and gardening.

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Want to Share Your Disruptive Story?

Disruptive Storytelling with Military Changemakers is a bi-weekly podcast presented by Partners in PROMISE, a nonprofit dedicated to Protecting the Rights Of Military children In Special Education (P.R.O.M.I.S.E.). The podcast is hosted by Jennifer Barnhill with music by Stephen McDonough.

Want to sponsor a future episode? Email: info@partnersinpromise.org

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