Have a Heart for Kids Day 2020

State Food Assistance makes healthy kids, strong families

Christina 04/01/11


Inna Salo is a hardworking Maple Valley mom who is pursuing her nursing degree while working as an interpreter. She and her husband Viktor, also an interpreter, are raising three young children.

As she balances work, education and child rearing, Inna focuses on one of the essentials for her kids: healthy food.

Nutritious food “is the most important for their development,” says Inna, “especially fruits and vegetables and homemade stuff that provides them energy.”

As she feeds her children conscientiously, Inna hopes to become a doctor someday, a goal that was cut short when she fled Ukraine with her husband during her medical school years in her home country. In America, she can pursue this dream again while raising healthy kids, thanks to State Food Assistance (SFA).

SFA helps thousands of Washington parents like Inna put nutritious food on the table for their children.

“With food benefits, we don’t have to stress out as much about nutrition and a better life for our kids,” says Inna.

During the second day of the month, when the Salos receive their SFA benefits, the whole family—including the young ones—celebrate.

“For them, just knowing that they get food stamps, they are so excited to go to the grocery store,” says Inna.

Half of the 31,000 individuals who rely on SFA are children like Inna’s – so cutting the program would worsen childhood hunger.

As she writes in a letter to legislators, SFA is a lifeline for families who only want the best for their kids:

“We are grateful for the help we receive from State Food Assistance. If the program is eliminated, our family life will be challenged. We will not be able to provide quality meals for my kids and we are concerned about how this will impact my kids' health and development.”

Our state must continue providing consistent benefits to the 31,000 Washingtonians who rely on this support, especially at a time when the hunger rate has spiked 36 percent since 2009. The Children’s Alliance joins our anti-hunger allies and urges the legislature to continue funding State Food Assistance in the biennial budget. With hunger on the rise, now is not the time to take food off the table.