Have a Heart for Kids Day 2020

Celebrating Progress for Kids

Adam 09/16/15


Parents, elected officials, community-based leaders and other advocates for kids gathered in Auburn on Saturday to celebrate a significant victory in the 2015 legislature: the full restoration of food assistance for migrant families. As the photos show, it was a proud moment. 

Children's Alliance food policy director Linda Stone and executive director Paola Maranan at the victory celebration for State Food Assistance on Sept. 12. Staff joined parents, leaders and other advocates to mark the full restoration of nutritional benefits for thousands of Washington kids and families.

Here’s how our executive director, Paola Maranan, greeted the partygoers:

“I am proud and humbled to be here with you today to celebrate a victory that was only made possible by you. Five years ago we came together to organize and advocate to save State Food Assistance. Through those years you—parents, grandparents and youth who courageously spoke the truth about your own experiences; grassroots organizations that stood in solidarity with families; service providers and food banks that spoke up for equity; legislators who advocated among your own colleagues to right this wrong—you have given your hearts, your time and your voice to this campaign.

“At Children’s Alliance we believe in every child’s potential, and we know that good public policies advance equity and help all kids reach that vast potential. State Food Assistance is one of those good policies.

“Nineteen years ago, together with some of you in this room—and many others who can’t be here today—we advocated successfully to create the State Food Assistance program. For nearly two decades it has stood as a shelter from the ravages of hunger. Thanks to you, it will stand for many more years to come. 

“We have so much more to do to ensure every Washington child has the means to reach their vast potential. But today I want to simply say thank you, and well done. 

“It’s an honor to work alongside you for racial equity, for justice, and for a bright future where all of Washington’s children can grow up to be the adults they dream of becoming. Thank you.”

The children’s choir of the Marshallese United Church of Christ followed Paola in singing to the audience, which included Rep. Pat Sullivan (D-Covington) and Sen. Joe Fain (R-Auburn).

We honored Rep. Sullivan and Sen. Fain this week for their leadership in restoring State Food Assistance by bestowing on them the Children’s Alliance Champions for Children recognition.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s new estimates on food insecurity—showing that families hurt by the Great Recession are still struggling to feed themselves—call us to continued action to end childhood hunger. We know we can succeed. Campaigns like the one that restored State Food Assistance may take hard work and long years, but the results change lives. And further, they prove that we can change the rules that guide our country so that no child goes hungry.