Union County


  • Population 543,976  (2013 estimate Census)
  • Per Capita Income $32,904 (2013) 
  • 10.4% of the population live below the poverty level (2013)


  • White, 68.7%, Hispanic or Latino, percent, 2013   29.3%, ,Black or African American  23.4%, American Indian and Alaska Native  0.7%, Asian  5.2%, Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 0.1%, Two or More Races, 1.9% 69% White (2012)

USDA SNAP Participating Families

  • 25,707 households (25,545 adults and 24943 children) in Union County are SNAP Program Participants  (2014)
  • According to the NJ Department of Human Services August 2014 report, 50,488 (25 545 adults and 24,943 children) received SNAP benefits

Union County SNAP-Ed Project

The SNAP-Ed Project addresses the following needs for limited resource individuals in Union County.

  • Inability to have SNAP benefits and food budget last through the month
  • Limited food preparation and food storage facilities
  • High reliance on convenience foods and fast food restaurants
  • Limited nutrition and food safety knowledge
  • High consumption of high fat foods and low consumption of fruits, vegetables and dairy products

Non Duplication

  • There is no EFNEP programming in Union County

Project Objectives

  • To promote the SNAP-Ed Project and its statewide mission. To increase food security through nutrition education programs to the SNAP eligible population, resulting in improved dietary habits, food purchase and food preparation practices and improved eating behaviors.
  • To collaborate with municipal and county wide agencies working with limited resources audiences including: Union County Division on Aging, PROCEED, The Leaguers, Inc. Bridgeway Rehabilitation Services, International Rescue Committee, YMCA of Eastern Union County and the public schools in the cities of Elizabeth, Hillside, Plainfield and Roselle.
  • To provide nutrition education to SNAP eligible adult and youth audiences throughout Union County.
  • To provide community rotations with Dietetic Interns and Dietetic Technicians who are working toward professional nutrition credentials by teaching nutrition education classes at senior dining sites or by teaching youth.
  • To provide training to staff (teachers, parent liaisons, and food service personnel) who communicate regularly and serve the students and families in the Elizabeth & Plainfield School Districts, so they may help improve the nutritional profile in their community.

Project Activities

  • Market program in order to increase county network collaboration opportunities
  • Provide nutrition education to participants
  • Increase outreach to new participants


  • The evaluation methodology, which is used, includes an overall measurement of the impact of nutrition education amongst the population of SNAP participants. The WebNEERS reporting system is used for data from pre and post surveys.

Collaborative Relationships
RCE of Union County
Montclair State University Dietetic Internship
UMDMJ Dietetic Internship
College of St. Elizabeth Dietetic Internship
Middlesex County College Dietetic Technician Program
Union County Division on Aging
Senior Meal Program of Union County
Elizabeth Schools
City of Elizabeth
Plainfield Schools
City of Plainfield
Hillside Schools
Roselle Schools
CIty of Roselle
The Leaguers, Inc.
International Rescue Committee
YMCA of Eastern Union County
Bridgeway Rehabilitation Services


Ms. Janet Brun, RD, CDE
Program Associate
Union County SNAP-Ed Program
RCE of Union County
300 North Avenue East
Westfield, NJ 07090
Phone: (908) 654-9854 ext 5
Fax: (908) 654-9818
Email: brun@njaes.rutgers.edu

Dr. Karen Ensle, RD, FADA, CFCS
Family & Community Health Sciences Educator
Union County SNAP-Ed Program
RCE of Union County
300 North Avenue East
Westfield, NJ 07090
Phone: (908) 654-9854 Ext. 1
Fax: (908) 654-9818
Email: Ensle@njaes.rutgers.edu