Kids in America need our help right now. Because of this crisis, more kids in America than perhaps ever before are at risk of going hungry.
In fact, 1 in 4 children in the United States could face hunger this year because of the coronavirus.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, is one of the best ways to feed hungry kids, in times of crisis and not. It helps low-income families buy food; nothing else.
And with scores of parents facing unemployment nationwide because of the pandemic, SNAP is more important than ever to help feed kids.
For New York-based playwright and TV writer Lucy Thurber, SNAP made all the difference when she was a child and experienced bouts of homelessness with her mother.
“I would not be alive today without SNAP,” she said. “It was how I ate for a huge portion of my childhood and into my teenage years. My mom worked. We just didn’t make enough to feed both of us. SNAP buys food, nothing else.”
Tyrese Hayes, who works with students in Philadelphia, grew up with similar experiences.
“I’ve been in a lot of shelters with my family. Sometimes it was rough just getting food. Having SNAP, it really helped,” he said. “When I was in school, we didn’t have money for lunch. But we had SNAP, so we could go to the store.”
Now, he’s started his own nonprofit to support young people in his city.
Miami-based Chef Cesar Zapata now nourishes others through his restaurants, long after he experienced a challenging childhood in Newark, NJ.
“I was that kid that No Kid Hungry talks about,” he said. “My parents had two jobs to make sure that we had food. We still struggled, waking up and not being able to have breakfast. Sometimes we couldn't even have lunch, and then getting back from school, not knowing if we were going to have food.”
And James Beard Award-winner Chef Ann Kim says she’s a proud product of SNAP, though her parents kept her from knowing when she was a child.
“Thinking back to those times, it really chokes me up because I didn't realize that I was hungry,” she shared. “Now that I'm a chef, I want to do what I can to make sure that children don't have to worry about that anymore.”
You can join us, and Chef Kim, in helping kids get the food they need.
Congress is weighing a new coronavirus relief package, and it must include increased SNAP benefits to help feed hungry kids during and beyond this crisis.
Visit NoKidHungry.org/SNAP to easily contact your Member of Congress through our pre-written email message system.
And when you do, think of the countless children like Thurber once was, and the difference it made in her life.
“Without SNAP, I would not have eaten,” she said. “For kids who have no control over things like home, shelter or where their next meal is coming from, something that guarantees a meal is SNAP.”