How SNAP Helped this Kansas Mom Leave an Abusive Relationship

Brian Johnson (left) and Kolia Souza at their StoryCorps recording on June 25, 2018 in Manhattan, Kansas.

When she was younger, Kolia Souza went to work with bruises. The man she was in a relationship with at the time—the father of her two daughters—was physically abusive. She was worried about the challenges she would face leaving him, but knew it was best for her and her daughters.

“Having those benefits was my way out and my way to make a better life for myself and my daughters.” – Kolia Souza

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) helped Kolia get back on her feet after leaving that relationship, and it enabled her to finish college and provide for her daughters.

Kolia later married Brian Johnson, who shares his experience as a young boy when his mother received SNAP benefits after leaving an abusive relationship with his father.

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This story was recorded and produced by StoryCorps, a national nonprofit whose mission is to preserve and share humanity’s stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world, with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Originally posted on September 19, 2018.

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In Kansas, 9% of residents participate in SNAP.


In Kansas, 19.2% of children are food insecure.


In Kansas, 13.2% of the overall population is food insecure.

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Priority Policy: SNAP

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, is the nation’s largest nutrition assistance program, helping feed more than 40 million Americans each month.

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Child food insecurity rates range from 9.4% in North Dakota to 26.3% in Mississippi.

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