About NJ SNAP-Ed Program
New Jersey SNAP-ED Program
We in the New Jersey SNAP-Ed Program are very proud of our program and its accomplishments. The following is a brief description of SNAP-Ed Program in New Jersey.
SNAP-Ed was established in New Jersey in 1997 to provide nutrition education to limited resource adults, seniors, SNAP participants and children in school systems which have 50% or more children who are receiving free or reduced school lunches. The desired outcomes of our education are as follows:
- Improved diets and nutritional welfare;
- Increased knowledge of the essentials of human nutrition;
- Increased ability to select and buy food that satisfies nutritional needs;
- Improved practices in food production, preparation, storage, safety and sanitation;
- Increased ability to manage food budgets and related resources such as SNAP benefits.
SNAP-Ed Program follows the EFNEP model that provides nutrition education through paraprofessionals (Community Assistants) who are peer educators hired from the indigenous target population.
In New Jersey, adult education in the SNAP-Ed Program is accomplished through classes that meet all of the following criteria:
- Comprised of 4-15 people
- Comprised of groups where at least 50% of the individuals participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or are eligible to receive Food Stamps
- Meets at least 6 times (Department of Labor can meet 4 weeks)
- Classes last a minimum of one hour per session
- Classes are delivered over a minimum of 6 weeks with a maximum of one year
To receive a graduation certificate from our program, adults must attend at least 6 classes as outlined above.
Youth programming, in New Jersey has the same requirements as adult programming, with two exceptions. Classes can contain up to 30 children per Community Assistant in pre-organized youth groups, and may meet for a minimum of 30 minutes, rather than one hour when a full hour is not available.
New Jersey SNAP-Ed Program serves audiences that do not qualify for EFNEP. These areas include rural and suburban areas where groups meeting our qualifications can gather.
In urban area, SNAP-Ed Program can conduct classes through organizations that do not currently work with EFNEP. We currently have programs in the following areas:
- Rutgers University-Based Projects
New Jersey SNAP-Ed Program is a successful outreach program, which is run in collaboration between the Department of Nutritional Sciences at Rutgers University and with other departments such as Family and Consumer Sciences, 4H, and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey School of Health Related Professions. In fiscal year 2000 we delivered classes to 2,556 adults and 5,242 youth. Racial breakdowns for adults and youth, respectively, were: 42% and 37% African American; 22% and 37% Hispanic; 33 % and 23% Caucasian; 1% and 2% Asian or Pacific Islanders; and, 2% and 1% Native American Indian. For census purposes, 100% of New Jersey is categorized as urban. 45% of our education efforts occurred in central cities of over 50,000; 4% occurred in suburbs of over 50,000 people; and 46% occurred in towns and cities of 10,000 - 50,000 people.
Much of our adult behaviorally focused programming in the community follows the EFNEP model of peer education. Many of the SNAP-Ed Program programs hire paraprofessionals and follow ethnic staffing patterns which mimic that of our participants with 25% of our paraprofessionals being African American, 31% being Hispanic, and 44% Caucasian. In addition to the paraprofessional model, we also deliver nutrition education via other means, for example, through theatre, urban ecology, farmer's market programs, and school cafeteria programs taught by professionals, interns, and student employees.
A 24-hour dietary recall performed with those 1,995 adults who graduated from our program indicated that:
- Fruit intake improved from a mean of 1.1 servings + 1.8 at entry to 1.5+2.1 at exit.Recommended intake is 2-3 servings daily.
- Calcium/Dairy food intake improved from a mean of 0.9 servings +1.3 at entry to 1.1+1.5 at exit. Recommended intake is 2-3 serving daily.
- Fat and sugar intake improved from a mean of 17.4+15.2 servings at entry to 17.0+14.5 at exit. Recommended intake is 10 or less, servings daily.
From a survey administered to 1,024 of the adults who graduated from our program, we noted that:
- 35% more often planned meals in advance
- 26% more often compared prices when shopping
- 35% less often ran out of food at the end of the month
- 25% more often used a grocery list when shopping
- 31% more often thought about healthy food choices when deciding what to feed their families
- 34% more often prepared food without adding salt
- 39% more often used the "Nutrition Facts" on food labels to make healthy choices
- 24% reported that their children ate breakfast more often
- 20% more often followed the recommended practices of not allowing meat and diary foods to sit out for more than two hours
- 38% more often followed the recommended practice of not thawing foods at room temperature
For additional information regarding New Jersey SNAP-Ed Program, please contact Dr. Debrah Palmer, SNAP-Ed Program Director or (732) 932-9853.
For more information on local programming or volunteer opportunities, please contact the site supervisor in the SNAP-Ed Program in which you are interested.