(Posted March 3, 2016)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
The Ohio State University Extension Office in Madison County now offers nutrition education classes to low-income adults and youths through Ohio SNAP-Ed.
The goal of SNAP-Ed is to improve the likelihood that families and individuals who receive federal food assistance benefits will make healthy food choices and choose active lifestyles. It is a component of the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
While SNAP-Ed has been around since the 1990s and is up and running in 69 Ohio counties, the program is new to Madison County. The first activities were held in January.
“So far, I’ve only taught at Monroe Elementary (Jonathan Alder Local Schools). The kids were very interested and active in the lesson. I’m really excited to go back,” said Jessica Lowe, who splits her time between Madison and Pickaway counties as the SNAP-Ed program assistant.
Lowe soon will be teaching classes at Head Start centers in the London and Madison-Plains school districts and through London ABLE. She holds a middle childhood education degree from Ohio University.
“I plan to work on adding more classes for adults this summer and possibly work with the summer food program to bring programming to kids,” she said.
In addition to food nutrition, SNAP-Ed covers food shopping and budgeting, pairing a healthy diet with physical activity, and keeping food safe.
“One goal of ours is to see participants have enough food or money for food by the end of each month,” Lowe said.
Last year, the program helped 2,560 individuals in Pickaway County. Lowe said she hopes to have similar success in Madison County.
“So far, responses from other community leaders have been overwhelmingly positive. I can really tell this community cares for one another,” she said.
All classes and educational materials are supplied at no cost to participants. Funding comes from a federal Nutrition and Obesity Prevention grant.
For more information about SNAP-Ed, go to go.osu.edu/snap-ed, call the Madison County Extension office at (740) 852-0975, or contact Jessica Lowe at (740) 474-7543 or firstname.lastname@example.org.