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K-State Research and Extension

Nutrition education prevents hunger, food insecurity

What we are doing:
SNAP-EdIn communities large and small across the state, K-State Research and Extension educators provide nutrition education to some of the state's most vulnerable individuals and families, including children, the elderly and disabled individuals.
The nation's largest public-assistance system, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), ensures that U.S. families do not have to go hungry when beset by financial difficulties.

SNAP-Ed educates SNAP recipients. Through demonstrations, workshops, plus online and social media programs, SNAP recipients gain knowledge on topics ranging from making healthier grocery-store choices to recipes and cooking classes that help household leaders serve tasty, nutritious and inexpensive meals to their families.
In Kansas, SNAP-Ed is administered through K-State Research and Extension.

Our impact:

  • SNAP provides access to healthy food and nutrition education for low-income families and individuals across the U.S.
  • It benefits elderly persons, low-income persons even if they are working, unemployed households and households with disabled persons.
  • It's been called "the cornerstone of the nation's nutrition safety net" and effectively prevents hunger and household food insecurity in Kansas and the U.S.
  • A five-year study showed that, in Kansas:
    • 8.6 percent of households in rural Kansas participate in SNAP
    • 11.2 percent of households in small towns receive benefits
    • 8.6 percent of Kansas households in metropolitan areas participate
  • The Program Evaluation and Reporting System (PEARS), which was developed at K-State, has been commended in a national report for helping community educators and nutrition counselors make efficient use of program data. This leads to more efficient, better-focused efforts that bring measurable, positive results:
    • 20 states use PEARS
    • Several more states are expected to implement PEARS soon
  • Because better nutrition choices in the population as a whole can result in fewer health problems and lower health insurance rates, eventually PEARS could have a positive effect on everyone.

"SNAP benefits are important to communities – big and small, urban and rural. ... According to the USDA's Economic Research Service, each $1 billion of retail generated by SNAP creates $340 million in farm production, $110 million in farm value-added and 3,300 farm jobs. Additionally, every $1 billion of SNAP benefits creates 8,900 to 17,900 full-time jobs."
- Sandy Procter, K-State Research and Extension specialist and Kansas Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education coordinator