Members of Navy Federal Credit Union don’t have to go to a food bank to support the fight against food insecurity for military servicemembers and veterans.
Thanks to a new partnership with Feeding America, No Plate Left Behind allows anyone with internet access to “Fill a plate virtually. Combat hunger for real.”
An augmented reality experience on noplateleftbehind.com allows donors to fill a plate of food and watch the donation value increase depending on what items they select. All donations go to Feeding America food banks with large military populations in their service areas.
“It’s a message and mission near and dear to my heart,” says Dottie Day, vice president of Winchester and contact center operations at the $166 billion asset credit union, and a Navy veteran. “As a veteran and military spouse, I know the unique challenges our servicemembers face every day. There are a lot of service members out there who have food insecurities, so partnering with food organizations and pantries across the country is important to us.”
According to the Military Family Advisory Network, one in six military and veteran families experienced food insecurity in 2022. That equals nearly 250,000 active-duty servicemembers and two million veterans nationwide worried about where their next meal will come from.
The goal of No Plate Left Behind, which ran from September through the end of October at the Vienna, Va., credit union, was to benefit hungry servicemembers, veterans, and their families. More than 1 million meals were donated through the program, and Navy Federal's employee volunteerism efforts have led to more than 3,500 pounds of food donated to local food banks.
“It’s been an exciting adventure to bring awareness through a new media,” Day says, mentioning this is the first campaign the credit union launched using augmented reality. She says the novel approach helped expand No Plate Left Behind’s platform. “We’ve been able to reach a different audience by having this augmented reality.”
If they don’t want to virtually fill a plate, website visitors can also find local food banks or donate directly to Feeding America. While No Plate Left Behind is nationwide, Navy Federal has a long relationship with local food programs through food drives, collection bins, community meals, and employee volunteer efforts at food pantries and homeless shelters.
Day notes that nearly 34 million people in the U.S. experience food insecurity, including nine million children, and that Navy Federal is committed to addressing that issue.
“Almost 29% of our members are worried food will run out before their next paycheck,” she says. “Our goal is to not only raise awareness about food insecurity, but also to support the efforts.”
Day has been serving since she graduated high school and joined the military to get an education. She began her Navy career as a hospital corpsman, then became a surgical technician and eventually a first assistant, working in operating rooms for seven years of her active-duty career.
When her second child was on the way, she left the Navy while her husband remained on active duty.
“The Navy took us great places,” Day says. “We moved 12 times in 27 years. As a veteran, a military spouse, and now the wife of a retiree, getting to see the country and the world was a great experience I wouldn’t trade for anything.”
Navy Federal seeks to give others that same positive experience—serving their needs from a financial and community perspective.
“Anything we can do to make a difference in the lives of our military members is important,” Day says, noting that 166 of Navy Federal’s more than 350 branches are located on or near military installations. “It’s an honor to guide our members through their financial journey, helping them find the resources available to them in times of struggle. It’s at the core of who we are and why we serve.”