RELEASE: No Kid Hungry Invests $1 Million Across Latino-Serving Organizations to Combat the Chilling Effect of Public Charge and Increase Food Access Among Immigrant Families

A New Report Highlights Community-Led Strategies to Alleviate Hunger and Foster Belonging in Latino and Immigrant Communities


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Contact: Ceci Henriquez,

WASHINGTON, D.C. - No Kid Hungry, a campaign of Share Our Strength focused on ending childhood hunger in the United States, invested more than $1 million to support 17 predominantly Latino- and immigrant-serving organizations to combat the chilling effect of the 2019 public charge policy, increase Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) enrollment, and provide food for families experiencing hardships. Grantee organizations based in Arizona, California, Florida and Texas directly assisted 65,000 individuals and 31,000 families through outreach and benefits enrollment and fed 12,000 families each month. Their efforts to move individuals from fear to trust, provide food to families, and foster an environment of safety and belonging have been outlined in a new report conducted by the Leah Zallman Center for Immigrant Health Research and funded by No Kid Hungry.

The anti-immigrant policy of 2019, which expanded the definition of “public charge” to include immigrants who receive assistance with housing, nutrition, healthcare, and other benefits, caused historic levels of harm and hunger for immigrant families and U.S. citizen children. The rule was reversed in 2021 and protections were added in 2022, making it explicit that using nutrition, or housing programs or using healthcare programs at a doctor’s office, clinic, or hospital is not considered in public charge determinations. Despite the rule’s reversal, the “chilling effect” of the 2019 public charge policy and ever-shifting landscape of immigration policies and narratives have created an environment of instability and confusion within immigrant communities, with millions of eligible families continuing to avoid public programs like SNAP, even when experiencing hardships.

SNAP is the country’s largest and most effective anti-hunger program, with children being nearly half of the recipients. Research shows that kids who receive SNAP grow up healthier and do better in school, even increasing their likelihood of graduating. Yet, according to a recent Urban Institute study, the chilling effect may be keeping 3 to 4 million eligible children in immigrant families from accessing federal programs like SNAP that could help provide the nutrition and care they need to thrive.

The report, titled “From Fear to Trust: Community-Led Solutions to Increase Food Access,” was based on a participatory evaluation with 16 of the 17 Latino- and immigrant-serving grantee organizations. The findings highlight the barriers and strategies employed by these community-based groups to rebuild trust and enhance access to food and federal nutrition programs among eligible immigrant families. Eligibility of federal safety net programs like SNAP and Medicaid continues to be limited to U.S. citizens and green card holders who meet certain criteria, including at least five years of permanent residency.

Today, 1 in 4 children in the United States lives in families that include at least one immigrant parent, and 87% of children of immigrants are U.S.-born, making many of them eligible for nutrition programs like SNAP or WIC. Moreover, immigrants contribute to the U.S. economy in various ways. Immigrants hold $1.4 trillion in spending power and contribute more than $500 billion in taxes annually to the economy, which helps fund public programs. The report sheds light on the need to counter prevalent harmful narratives that erase these contributions and directly threaten the food security and health of immigrant families and children. Grantees implemented various strategies to develop positive counter-narratives and integrate them into their work with families and the wider community. These counter-narratives emphasize abundance over scarcity and independence and autonomy over shame associated with being a "public charge."

“One in 5 children in the U.S. lives with hunger, and we know that despite their countless contributions, Latino and immigrant families face greater levels of food insecurity,” said Jillien Meier, managing director of National Partnerships at Share Our Strength, the organization behind the No Kid Hungry campaign. “It’s critical to work in solidarity with trusted community partners and support culturally responsive solutions to ensure immigrant families and children have equitable access to the nutrition they need to thrive.”

The report identifies a set of promising practices that proved most effective in assisting and empowering families who feared jeopardizing their status and stability in the United States. These practices include offering stigma-free services, providing culturally and linguistically responsive services and culturally relevant food, ensuring low barriers to SNAP enrollment and food access, and hiring and trusting community-embedded, bilingual staff and promotores, or community health workers. Additionally, consistently showing up for the community was found to be crucial.

“Our promotor(a) model allows us to build trust and meet families where they are,” said Rosy Bailey, project director, Hispanic Services Council. “When the promotores mirror the community and are armed with the knowledge of what the eligibility requirements are for programs, how the process works for applications, they can be a saving grace for immigrant families who face more barriers navigating this complex process. It’s been inspiring to share our experience with peers in this space and learn from one another.”

“Culture is at the center of our food justice work,” said Marissa Calderón, associate director of Family Empowerment, Chicanos Por La Causa. “We integrate an indigenous-based approach that promotes education about our ancestral foods and how programs like SNAP help obtain nutrient-dense foods that support the healing and wellness of our families. Through our partnership with No Kid Hungry, we were able to widen our reach and make sure more families had access to the accurate information they need to access the nutrition programs available to them.”

The report’s findings underscore the urgent need for continued support of culturally responsive strategies and the expansion of resources by funders, government agencies, and legislators to alleviate hunger and meet the basic needs of immigrant families in the United States.

For more information on No Kid Hungry, please visit


About No Kid Hungry

No child should go hungry in America. But millions of kids could face hunger this year. No Kid Hungry is working to end childhood hunger by helping launch and improve programs that give all kids the healthy food they need to thrive. This is a problem we know how to solve. No Kid Hungry is a campaign of Share Our Strength, an organization committed to ending hunger and poverty. Join us at 

About the Leah Zallman Center for Immigrant Health Research

The Leah Zallman Center for Immigrant Health Research (LZC) is a research center at the Institute for Community Health. We are a team of interdisciplinary social science researcher with expertise at the intersection of immigrant, economic, and health justice. We partner with immigrant communities, advocates, policymakers, and social and health systems on actionable research to improve immigrant health and well-being. Connect with us at