Cameron County EFNEP
1390 W. Expressway 83
San Benito, TX 78586
- Lead Office Assistant:
- Youth Associates:
San Juanita Cortez
Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program
Cameron County Outcome Summary Report
Supporting Texas Families with Greatest Need Since 1969
The Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) helps young families and youth with limited resources—those most at risk to suffer from hunger, food insecurity and the inability to connect with available support systems. EFNEP offers practical lessons in basic nutrition, food preparation, food budget management and food safety in settings convenient for the participants. EFNEP also includes a walking program for adult participants. Program graduates reflect significant, lasting improvement in eating behaviors and healthy food habits. Texas has a need for EFNEP—2014 data show that 20% of Texas families with children under the age of 18 were living below poverty level, compared to 18% of U.S. families.
EFNEP Reaches Diverse Audiences in Cameron County
In Cameron County, ethnically diverse EFNEP nutrition assistants reach youth and adult groups whose principal language may be English or Spanish.
- 1,506 families enrolled in EFNEP.
- 4,971 youth contacts were made through the EFNEP youth program.
- 89 EFNEP participants were pregnant and/or nursing.
- 64% of families were at or below 100% of federal poverty level.
- 70% of families enrolled in one or more food assistance programs at entry.
- 86% of EFNEP adult participants were Hispanic/Latino.
Volunteers Strengthen EFNEP
In 2015, 134 adult volunteers donated 1,498 hours of work to EFNEP in Cameron County. At the Texas rate of $24.66/hour, this volunteerism has a minimum dollar value of $36,930. Volunteers make a difference in their own communities, and contribute to EFNEP’s continued success.
EFNEP Makes a Real Difference
Using “hands-on” experiences, EFNEP adult participants complete at least a six-lesson series on stretching food dollars, improving eating habits, and practicing food safety principles. As a result of participation in EFNEP the following food and nutrition behaviors were achieved:
- 95% with positive change in any food group at exit.
- 89% improved in one or more food resource management practices such as using a list for grocery shopping.
- 83% improved in one or more nutrition practices such as using the “Nutrition Facts” on food labels to make food choices.
- 78% improved in one or more food safety practices such as thawing foods safely.
- 29% of program participants reported a positive change in physical activity.
The EFNEP – Youth program is directed toward low-income school-age youth. These students participate in a series of fun and educational lessons on good nutrition and food safety as part of summer programs, classroom and after-school activities. The following results show how youth participants’ food behaviors improved after attending EFNEP classes.
- 85% improved ability to choose foods according to the Dietary Guidelines.
- 47% improved their safe food handling practices more often.
- 46% improved physical activity practices.
Studies have shown that for every $1 spent of EFNEP, $10 were estimated to be saved in health care costs and $2 saved in food costs by participants. For Cameron County, this is $3 million in estimated health care cost savings and almost $616,986 in food costs.
“First of all I want to thank the ladies and those whom made this program possible. Being a mother of 3 (ages 12,10, and 7) has been an experience that no book could prepare me to be. But your program has educated me to be a much better mother to not only keep my children healthy, but me as well. I have learned things that I was not aware of. One thing I was not aware was of the storage and shelf life of different products like dry beans, rice, and flour. There were things that I had forgotten and this course was very helpful to me. The recipes were not only good but my family really enjoyed them. I have added them to my recipe book that is my treasure book that I will pass down to my future grandkids. Thank you!”
– Dahlia A. Silva, Participant at Harlingen Salvation Army
Last updated: 18 October, 2016
Educational programs of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service are open to all people without regard to race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, genetic information or veteran status. The Texas A&M University System, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the County Commissioners Courts of Texas Cooperating.