When I was growing up my family fell on hard times. We didn’t have a lot of luxuries and my mom did all she could to make sure we had what we needed to grow up healthy and strong. That includes making sure we had enough healthy food on the dinner table. She did this by taking advantage of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formally known as food stamps).
I’m what you could call a SNAP success story – one of the millions of people who relied on SNAP during a tough time in my life, helping my family put food on the table. SNAP helped me and my family get back on our feet when we needed it most.
My family isn’t the only ones who fell on hard times and needed programs like SNAP. Families every day face the same struggles. In fact, more than one in five kids struggle with hunger. I want to make sure that programs like SNAP that were there for me and helped me succeed are there for other kids, too.
We can’t afford to cut a program that is proven to help people succeed. In fact, SNAP is the most powerful and effective anti-hunger program for kids – and it goes directly to families living in poverty. Besides that, feeding our children isn’t just the right thing to do; it’s the smart thing to do. It is an investment in the future success of this nation—an investment in people like me. Food purchased with SNAP benefits does more than provide children with essential daily nutrition—it helps the economy, fights hunger and poverty.
The Georgia Food Bank Association and Share Our Strength joined together with Governor Nathan Deal to launch the Georgia Feeding for a Promising Future – No Kid Hungry campaign that is working to end childhood hunger in the state by connecting kids and families to programs like SNAP. This public-private partnership is just one of the many efforts across the country making sure our children have the food they need to succeed.
I’m in this fight to speak up for the kids all across this country who can’t speak up for themselves and who are just like I was—going through a tough time but able to succeed with a little help. I urge members of Congress to stand up and protect SNAP for the health of families and for the health of our country. Learn more and take action at ProtectSNAP.org.
Riley is the center for the Atlanta Dream in the Women's National Basketball Association. She is an all-star and two-time Olympic gold medalist.