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.

This story was recorded and produced in 2018 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.