By Marian Wright Edelman
“I worry in regards to child obesity…diabetes, cholesterol, and all of those things, but personally I worry more about the children than myself.”
“My kids—they’re the ones that I worry about eating right or making sure everything is good.”
Most parents know the worry of trying to make sure their children are eating well and getting the right balance of the healthy foods they need to grow and thrive. Those universal worries become even harder for families who are already struggling just to put food on the table.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) helps keep children and families fed and is our nation’s first line of defense against hunger. In 2018 SNAP helped feed nearly a quarter of all children in America. But a new report just released by the USDA showed nearly nine out of 10 SNAP participants faced barriers to providing their family a healthy diet throughout the month.
The study was conducted in 2018, so it did not capture the enormous new challenges many families have faced during the pandemic. But it did make it clear that even before the pandemic more help was already needed. When researchers asked participants why they needed SNAP benefits, the most common answer was unemployment or underemployment: “My husband had fewer hours and I’m not working.” “I wasn’t working anymore. I’m working a little bit now but not much and I need food.”
Other common reasons for needing SNAP included health problems and changes in family