The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, is one of our nation’s most powerful tools to end childhood hunger. It’s critical for helping kids grow up healthy, educated and more likely to break the cycle of poverty.
Today, 1 in 8 kids in the U.S. faces hunger, and more than 11 million of those children are supported by the food they get through SNAP. The program is run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and provides families with a monthly benefit through a special debit-style card to purchase groceries.
Here are five things to know about how SNAP helps kids today and into their future:
- SNAP feeds kids. In fact, 42% of all people who participate in the SNAP program are children.
- SNAP helps families most vulnerable to hunger. According to USDA’s most recent analysis, four out of every five households on SNAP have either a child under the age of 18, a senior over the age of 60, or an individual with a disability. Together, these households make up 90% of all participants on SNAP.
- SNAP can end poverty. Adding SNAP benefits to a family’s budget can mean the difference between living in poverty or not. A 2021 analysis found that SNAP kept nearly 8 million people above the poverty line prior to the pandemic, including 3.6 million children. And the majority of people on SNAP who can work are working. In fact, 84% of SNAP families had at least one person working in the past 12 months.
- SNAP affects a child's education. Research shows that kids who receive SNAP do better in school, even increasing the likelihood of graduating. Access to healthy food helps develop memory, social skills and emotional stability, which are all crucial for academic success.
- SNAP affects a child’s health. Research also shows that kids receiving SNAP benefits are healthier than those who don’t have access to SNAP. And, their families are less likely to sacrifice health care to pay for other basic necessities.
The food provided by SNAP does much more than fill a child’s empty stomach. It helps kids grow up smarter, stronger and healthier and that means a smarter, stronger and healthier nation.
As part of our mission to make sure that every child in our nation has access to three meals a day, No Kid Hungry is working hard to protect SNAP for the 1 in 5 kids who benefit from the nutritious food it helps provide. And you can help! Click here to encourage your Members of Congress to protect and strengthen SNAP.