A new series produced by StoryCorps, with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, highlights the temporary but critical support the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides families during times of need. The recordings are featured in The State of Obesity: Better Policies for the Health of America.
SNAP is the nation’s largest nutrition assistance program and helps feed more than 40 million Americans each month. The Farm Bill, which includes funding for SNAP, expired in September, leaving the future of the program hanging in the balance.
Congress is likely to consider the Farm Bill when it reconvenes following the November elections. When they do, elected officials can show they are listening to these voices by protecting critical programs like SNAP.
KC Healthy Kids acted as a local coordinating partner for the StoryCorps recordings in Kansas. They worked with Historic Northeast Midtown Association, Center for Engagement and Community Development at Kansas State University, Center for Neighborhoods at University of Missouri-Kansas City and Community Health Council of Wyandotte County to recruit Kansans whose lives have been positively impacted by SNAP.
“Some of these stories had me in tears. They are powerful reminders of the life-changing power of nutrition programs like SNAP. We need elected officials who will stand up for SNAP and other programs that help people overcome difficult circumstances,” Beth Low-Smith, president for policy at KC Healthy Kids said.
StoryCorps also recorded conversations in Michigan, Alabama, and Texas. Two Kansas stories are featured:
- Kolia Souza and Brian Johnson, talk about how SNAP helped Kolia escape an abusive relationship when she was a young mother.
- Husband and wife Tim and Emily Brown discuss the short period of time they received SNAP benefits after Tim lost his job. Emily was a stay-at-home mom to care for her two young kids who were sick, and even though Tim found another job quickly, it wasn’t enough to provide for their family.
More on The Farm Bill and SNAP
U.S. Farm Bill Find tools KC Healthy Kids has developed to help you raise awareness and have meaningful conversations about Farm Bill policies, specifically those impacting nutrition, conservation and research and extension programming.
In an Impact Assessment, Mathematica Policy Research, with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, estimates the effects of proposed changes to SNAP in the House version of the Farm Bill (H.R. 2, the Agriculture Improvement Act). The impact assessment found that if certain provisions of the House bill become law…
… About one in 11 households receiving SNAP benefits would lose eligibility—approximately two million households using SNAP data from fiscal year 2015.
…Among these households, 34 percent (677,000 households) include seniors, 23 percent (469,000 households) include children, and 11 percent (214,000 households) include those with a disability.
…Of the households with children losing eligibility, more than half (53 percent) live in poverty.
StoryCorps is a national nonprofit whose mission is to preserve and share humanity’s stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world. Since 2003, StoryCorps has collected and archived over 60,000 interviews with more than 100,000 participants. StoryCorps is the largest oral history project of its kind, and millions listen to our weekly broadcasts on NPR’s Morning Edition.
KC Healthy Kids has entered into a licensing agreement with StoryCorps and can make the content available for partners or local media who want to produce further segments. For information, email Heather Winslow Gibbons or call 816-523-5353.