Kansas City metro area will celebrate community members who have refused to give up when faced with adversity with a special free event at 5 p.m. Thurs., April 25, at the Bruce R. Watkins Center at 3700 Blue Parkway in KCMO.

Spoken word artist Natasha Ria El-Scari and visual art pieces by KCK’s Cheyenne Banda and KCMO’s muralist JT Daniels will be featured, along with the sharing of stories of 100 local residents who have relied on food-assistance programs like SNAP and WIC to survive at some time in their lives. Each of the featured artists will unveil a new original work that will be unveiled at the reception.

You can RSVP for the reception online at kchealthykids.com.

The celebration is sponsored by KC Voices, a collaborative effort to involve residents and stakeholders in low-income, racially diverse neighborhoods in KCK and KCMO in sharing stories and info about how food policies shape their community, their opportunities and their plates.

The event is also a celebration of KC Voices’ successful work with government leaders to keep food-assistance programs available in the Kansas City metro area.

KC Voices started last year as a collaboration to stamp out hunger in the community by addressing the underlying causes of food insecurity. That effort includes the Community Health Council of Wyandotte County, KC Healthy Kids, KCK’s Historic Northeast-Midtown Association and UMKC’s Center for Neighborhoods,

Two essential food programs, SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps) and WIC (the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children), are part of the Farm Bill legislation that Congress has to pass every five years.

The Farm Bill allocates nearly $100 billion per year, and 80% of that allocation goes to fund SNAP.

For the 2018 version, some members of Congress wanted to make changes that would cut off assistance to tens of thousands of people in the KC metro area, among other places.

KC Voices responded to the threat with advocacy, community engagement, and networking with partners around the country to convince Congress to keep funding the food programs that, for example, allow children to go to school with full bellies.

“There is a misnomer that people who receive food assistance are lazy and don’t want to work, and that could simply not be further from the truth,” the Historic Northeast-Midtown Association said in a statement. “Often times, food assistance is needed on a temporary basis to get people through difficult situations that arise unexpectedly. Other times, it helps families eat when working multiple jobs doesn’t quite pay for all the necessities like child care, rent, transportation, and food.”

SNAP benefitted about 40 million Americans in 2018, while WIC serves 53% of all infants born in the U.S., according to the Department of Agriculture.

For more info, visit kchealthykids.org.

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