Harris County



Picture of Harris County EFNEP Staff
Harris County EFNEP
3003 S. Loop West, Suite 220
Houston, TX 77054
Phone: 713-349-0880
Fax: 713-668-7186

  • Agent:
    Tonya McKenzie
  • Extension Assistant:
    Maria Rodriguez
  • Lead Office Assistant:
    Cathy Gauthier
  • Office Assistant:
    Mary Taylor
  • Adult Associates:
    Alicia Bradley
    Karen Williams
  • Youth Associate:s
    Eveli Chila
    Teresa Pineda
  • Assistants:
    Maria Acosta
    Doris Arzu
    Kourtney Brown
    Yomayra Garcia
    Noemi Garibay
    Khadija Ghaffar
    Ureshia Green
    Ana Hernandez
    Hannah Hungbui
    Torri Jones
    Kinh Le
    Marilyn Lutringer

Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program
Harris 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 Harris County

In Harris County, ethnically diverse EFNEP nutrition assistants reach youth and adult groups whose principal language may be English or Spanish.

In 2015,

  • 3,840 families enrolled in EFNEP
  • 4,262 youth contacts were made through the EFNEP youth program
  • 340 EFNEP participants were pregnant and/or nursing
  • 94% of families were at or below 100% of federal poverty level
  • 73% of families enrolled in one or more food assistance programs at entry
  • 60% of EFNEP adult participants were Hispanic/Latino
  • 18% of EFNEP adult participants were Black
  • 6% of EFNEP adult participants were Asian
  • 13% of EFNEP adult participants were Non-Hispanic/Latino White

Volunteers Strengthen EFNEP

In 2015, 394 adult volunteers donated 2,288 hours of work to EFNEP in Harris County. At the Texas rate of $24.66/hour, this volunteerism has a minimum dollar value of $56,422. Volunteers make a difference in their own communities, and contribute to EFNEP’s continued success.

EFNEP Makes a Real Difference

Adult Program:

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:

  • 99% with positive change in any food group at exit. Specifically, EFNEP participants consumed 2.3 more cups of fruits and vegetables and 1.1 additional cups of milk at completion, compared to entry.
  • 89% improved in one or more food resource management practices such as using a list for grocery shopping.
  • 93% improved in one or more nutrition practices such as using the “Nutrition Facts” on food labels to make food choices.
  • 80% improved in one or more food safety practices such as thawing foods safely.
  • 62% of program participants reported a positive change in physical activity.

Youth Program:

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.

  • 89% improved ability to choose foods according to the Dietary Guidelines.
  • 57% improved their safe food handling practices more often.
  • 48% improved physical activity practices.
  • 56% improved ability to prepare simple, nutritious, affordable food.

Cost–Benefits of EFNEP

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 Harris County, this is $6.6 million in estimated health care cost savings and almost $1.3 million in food costs.

Success Stories

Carolyn DeVaughn with the Children’s Defense Fund has served on the EFNEP Advisory Committee. She has provided information to assist our clients in acquiring health insurance for their families. With her assistance, Jackie Jones, Youth Agent, was a speaker and exhibitor at a citywide training that reached 250 school nurses. Referrals from that presentation resulted in the EFNEP youth program being included by nurses at Garden Villa Elementary, Golfcrest Elementary and Douglas Elementary schools. One nurse, Carolyn Ollison from Middle College for Technology, Careers High School at Texas Southern University stated, “I was so impressed that I now use the agent’s example of how eating one potato chip requires running in place one vigorous minute to burn the calories.” She further stated, “the milk display was eye-catching and got the attention of the youth.” The Expanded Nutrition Program youth program reached 250 students at her school’s Health Day Program and made a lasting impression on them.


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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.