Expanded Food and Nutrition Program (EFNEP)
Pennsylvania's Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) teaches food preparation skills, food buying, food safety, meal planning, and nutrition to low-income families. Working parents, single homemakers, pregnant teens, and youth from rural and urban communities are taught in small groups or individually by trained paraprofessional nutrition education advisors.
Why EFNEP? Poor diet leads to poor health, low work productivity, and impaired mental functions, and one of the things that EFNEP can do is to provide individuals with skills that contribute to job preparedness. Topics may include using food stamps and other resources effectively, stretching food dollars, keeping food safe, selecting, planning, and preparing healthful meals, feeding babies and children, and reading food labels. As evidence that EFNEP works, diet recalls taken at entry into and exit from the program showed that 92% of the 4,486 program graduates made a positive improvement in food choices, primarily in the consumption of fruits, vegetables, and dairy products.
Nutrition educators report socioeconomic benefits to families as well, including increased awareness of other services for which they are eligible, return of children to their families from foster care, enrollment of family members in high school, GED classes, or job training programs, and return to the work force.
EFNEP staff is comprised of nutrition education advisors who are hired from within the community and trained and supervised by extension agents and by university faculty and staff. For participants of ethnic minority origin, key information and teaching materials have been translated into Spanish.
Pennsylvania programs are administered through Penn State. For more information, contact your county Cooperative Extension Office or Elise Gurgevich at:
208 Special Services Building,
University Park, Pennsylvania, 16802
Call toll-free: 1-800-PSU-3535
For information on the national EFNEP program, visit http://www.csrees.usda.gov/