Rising Hollywood star Shailene Woodley joined lawmakers and digital retailers on Capitol Hill at a congressional briefing Tuesday in an effort to persuade the Obama administration to enact changes that would allow people to use food stamps online.
The 24-year-old Snowden star said the issue is one that affects her own family and friends.
“This issue stems beyond food. It is about social justice, equality amongst all,” Woodley wrote in an Instagram post.
“Healthy food should NOT be a privilege. healthy food is a RIGHT. and it’s our job to hold our government accountable to offer access to healthy food in ALL communities.”
feeling blessed to have rocked a day out in DC conversing with multiple wonderful politicians and their colleagues about the importance of #SNAP and urging the USDA to enact an initiative that allows food stamps to be used online. this issue stems beyond food. it is about social justice, equality amongst all. where you don't have access to healthy food, you find higher rates of obesity, diabetes, and other diseases. this is the sad truth, and it is irresponsible of us to continue allowing this narrative to unfold. healthy food should NOT be a privilege. healthy food is a RIGHT. and it's our job to hold our government accountable to offer access to healthy food in ALL communities. help our initiative move forward by visiting https://thrivemarket.com/action/Access-Healthy-Food #makethemovementmove #allinthistogether #UpToUs @thrivemkt
The actress was joined Tuesday by Reps. Barbara Lee (D-CA), Ted Lieu (D-CA), and Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH).
The lawmakers are attempting to combat so-called “food deserts;” according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), 23 million Americans live in areas where there are no readily available opportunities to purchase healthy food.
“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,” Rep. Ryan said in a press statement. “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.”
Rep. Ryan also personally thanked Woodley for attending Tuesday’s briefing.
— Congressman Tim Ryan (@RepTimRyan) July 12, 2016
Critics contend that bringing the food stamp program online could result in new problems, and could exacerbate already existing problems including food stamp fraud, already a major concern and a common and costly issue, with just a few recent cases reported in Illinois, Ohio and Massachusetts.
The explosion of the food stamp program in recent years has resulted in what the Wall Street Journal in 2011 called a “food stamp crime wave.”