WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH) today (July 12, 2016) was joined by Actress and Activist Shailene Woodley and thought leaders to advocate for increased access to healthy food for low-income families with the use of technology and the importance of SNAP. They discussed how the use of the internet will strengthen SNAP by increasing access to healthier foods for all Americans.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the largest program to help combat hunger and provides nutrition assistance to millions of eligible, low-income individuals and families. Currently, over 45 million Americans receive SNAP benefits each month, including about 20 million children. This program has proved to help lift millions of Americans out of poverty and also help provide access to healthier foods.

“For the past three decades, childhood obesity rates in America have tripled, and today, nearly one in three children in America are overweight or obese. Further, if we continue on our current trajectory, we will have an adult obesity rate of 60 percent within 15 years. In a country, where 23.5 million people live in food deserts,  we cannot allow the status quo to continue and must find new ways for all Americans to have access to fresh, healthy food. It is time for the government, and our society to catch up to the 21st century and begin to utilize the tools that can increase access to healthy foods for those communities that need them the most,” said Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH).

“A key step we can take to fight hunger, and combat food deserts is to make healthy, affordable good choices available to the greatest number of consumers. I believe the federal government must advance to the level of today’s technology and allow for the easier use of EBT benefits through online portals, and I commend Rep. Tim Ryan for convening this important briefing on this critical issue,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

“If healthy food is either economically unaffordable or physically unavailable,  that increases hunger and harms community nutrition,” said Joel Berg, CEO of Hunger Free America, a nationwide advocacy group.  “That’s why the federal government must enter the modern age by enabling more low-income families who rely on SNAP and live in food deserts to be able to use their benefits to order healthy food online.”