Every time a player on the New York Mets hits a home run at their home ballpark, Citi donates $2,000 to No Kid Hungry. In 2023, the Mets’ 116 home runs at Citi Field raised $232,000, enough for 2.32 million meals for kids in need. 

Over the past two years, the Arizona Cardinals have donated $65,000 and 325,000 meals to United Food Bank in Mesa, which each year distributes the equivalent of 50,000 meals per day to families in Arizona.

As a former Met (Curtis Granderson) and a current Arizona Cardinal (Kelvin Beachum), we are each proud of our respective team’s efforts to reduce the scourge of hunger in the United States — and to do our own parts as well. 

Since 2007, the Curtis Granderson Foundation has provided millions of children and families access to nutritious food, pantry staples, and educational resources; its partnership with Chicagoland Mariano's grocery store chain since 2013 has resulted in more than 40 million meals donated through the annual Grand Giving campaign. 

The Beachum Charitable Fund, founded in 2015, works to end hunger, provide clean water access, and provide access and opportunity within STEAM principles for minority students.

We have seen firsthand the lives that have been changed as a result of these endeavors. But we also recognize that charity alone cannot solve hunger in America; it is simply too vast for even pro sports teams, food banks, and corporations. Accomplishing that goal will take a sustained policy commitment from public officials across the country — starting with Congress. 

Over 44 million people in the United States, including 13 million children, are food insecure — meaning they don’t always have the resources to buy enough food.  That’s 1 out of 7 households in the entire country. The risk of hunger impacts every city, county, and state. And it is especially pronounced in communities of color and among families with no or low incomes.  

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is the nation’s largest and one of our most effective food assistance programs, helping children, families, seniors, individuals with disabilities, and others put enough food on the table. SNAP is proven to reduce food insecurity and poverty, improve health, and help children reach their full potential at school. However, despite its reach and impact, the average SNAP benefit is still only $2 per person per day. 

In other words, the scope of the hunger problem in our country far exceeds our current efforts to eliminate it. To us, that’s simply unacceptable. We are used to hearing “stay in your lane” from critics who object to professional athletes inserting ourselves into policy debates. Our response: This is our lane. And it needs to be everyone’s lane. That is why we are urging our lawmakers to make ending hunger a top priority.  

Congress has an immediate opportunity to step up by reauthorizing the farm bill, which includes SNAP and other programs that help ensure that people have enough food to eat.

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For decades, the farm bill was one of Congress’ signature bipartisan achievements. Even amid more political turbulence in recent years, it has still been an effective vehicle for change. Thanks to the 2018 farm bill, for instance, changes to the formula that determines SNAP benefits resulted in benefits increasing by around $12 to $16 per person per month. For people struggling to get by, even modest increases like that can change the trajectory of someone’s life.

The next iteration of the farm bill has the potential to ensure that programs like SNAP are even better aligned with the cost of food so that families better can afford a healthy diet, and expand access to nutritious foods without cutting benefits from participants. Some proposals would take steps in the right direction, though others would represent major steps backwards.  

Here’s our view on which direction Congress should take: When our charitable programs make a difference, we don’t dial them back; we build them up. We think legislators ought to follow the same principle when it comes to policies addressing hunger.

Opportunities like the farm bill are only as effective as our willingness to act on them. When children go to school hungry, they can’t learn. When parents eat less because they can’t afford enough food, their jobs and health suffer. When skin color and income level determine who has enough to eat and who doesn’t, the inequities that plague our country will continue. 

Legislative action takes time, and while we are optimistic that Congress will ultimately do the right thing and strengthen SNAP in the next farm bill, we know that many people need help right now. So, we encourage every American to do their part.

Volunteer at or make a contribution to your local food bank. Start a neighborhood food drive at your school or office. With the end of the school year approaching, spread the word about summer feeding programs. Every little bit makes a difference, and helps to set a good example that Congress can ultimately follow.

“A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.” These words from Jackie Robinson guide the work that we do to alleviate hunger in communities nationwide. We hope Congress takes them to heart as well. We can all become the champions our children and their families need and deserve by solving America's hunger crisis.

Curtis Granderson is a former MLB outfielder and three-time MLB All-Star, Roberto Clemente Award Recipient, and Silver Slugger Award Winner. He is also the founder of the Curtis Granderson Foundation, which aids in positive youth development through education, physical fitness, and nutrition initiatives. Kelvin Beachum is a 13-year National Football League veteran, currently with the Arizona Cardinals, and is an Ambassador for national organizations like Feeding America, World Vision, and Alliance to End Hunger.