Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed)
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Education Program (SNAP-Ed) is a free nutrition education program serving low-income adults in Ohio. This program is funded by the Food Nutrition Service’s (FNS) branch of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). In the state of Ohio, SNAP-Ed has developed as a partnership between the Ohio Department of Job & Family Services and Ohio State University Extension. Our goal is to improve, within a limited budget, the likelihood of families and individuals who are receiving food assistance benefits (formerly known as food stamps) to make healthy food choices and to choose active lifestyles.
How is SNAP-Ed designed and delivered?
SNAP-Ed programming focuses on (1) Diet Quality including promotion of Physical Activity, (2) Food Safety, and (3) Food Resource Management. The dissemination of nutrition education is mainly achieved by classes which are scheduled throughout Ohio and in 69 counties. The format of the classes varies from a single session to a series of sessions. In addition, those who receive food assistance benefits may learn about SNAP-Ed and nutrition from newsletters and fact sheets, basic food and nutrition demonstrations at local health fairs and community events and radio or television public service announcements. The delivery of educational programs at the county level is done by the SNAP-Ed Program Assistant who is assisted and supervised by the Family & Consumer Sciences (FCS) Educator. Programs may be at adult education and job training sites, adult rehabilitation centers, churches and faith based locations, community centers, elderly service sites, emergency food assistance sites, OSU Extension offices, famers markets, Supplemental Nutrition/Food Program offices, Head Start Program sites, homes, libraries, Community Health Centers, Public Housing, Schools, Shelters, WIC, and worksites.
What do participants learn?
This is an equal opportunity program. We recruit participants at locations where they live, work and do business. We use flyers, public service announcements, and agency workers to tell people about SNAP-Ed and about SNAP-Ed programs. Participants in the Food Assistance Benefits Program learn about SNAP-Ed from the social workers at the county’s Department of Job and Family Services. Other low-income people learn about SNAP-Ed from other agencies and organizations who partner with OSU Extension for nutrition education programs. The success of SNAP-Ed is linked to the partnership with local agencies and organizations whose outreach includes low income people.
Participants learn to select fruits and vegetables, whole grain, and low-fat dairy products for a healthy diet; to use limited resources to plan, purchase and prepare food for the family; to be physically active every day; and to store and handle food so it is safe to eat.