Kelley was born in Ellington. She was raised in Simsbury, Conn., and graduated from the University of Connecticut with a degree in agricultural economics, as stated by the Hartford Courant. During Kelley's 33-year career with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, she worked to improve the lives of children and low-income families, giving them increased access to proper nutrition. As the principal author of the 1964 Food Stamp Act and the Food Stamp Program's first director, Kelley shepherded an innovative initiative from its pilot stage into a full-fledged nationwide program that now serves over 40 million Americans.
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