Hidalgo County


Hidalgo County EFNEP
122 East Van Week
Edinburg, TX 78539
Phone: 956-383-6093
Fax: 956-383-6170

  • Agent:
    Melissa Gonzalez
  • Lead Office Assistant:
    Angie Briseno
  • Adult Associate:
    Jessica Rueda
  • Assistants:
    Emilia Padron
    Amanda Rodriguez
    Iris Villanueva
  • Youth Associates:
    Rachel Garcia
    Martiza Sanchez

Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program
Hidalgo 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 Hidalgo County

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

In 2015,

  • 2,300 families enrolled in EFNEP.
  • 19,481 youth contacts were made through the EFNEP youth program.
  • 121 EFNEP participants were pregnant and/or nursing.
  • 66% of families were at or below 100% of federal poverty level.
  • 80% of families enrolled in one or more food assistance programs at entry
  • 98% of EFNEP adult participants were Hispanic/Latino.

Volunteers Strengthen EFNEP

In 2015, 229 adult volunteers donated 1,685 hours of work to EFNEP in Hidalgo County. At the Texas rate of $24.66/hour, this volunteerism has a minimum dollar value of $41,547. 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:

  • 94% with positive change in any food group at exit. Specifically, EFNEP participants consumed 0.5 more cups of fruits and vegetables at completion, compared to entry.
  • 88% improved in one or more food resource management practices such as using a list for grocery shopping.
  • 95% improved in one or more nutrition practices such as using the “Nutrition Facts” on food labels to make food choices.
  • 64% improved in one or more food safety practices such as thawing foods safely.
  • 32% 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.

  • 86% improved ability to choose foods according to the Dietary Guidelines.
  • 50% improved their safe food handling practices more often.
  • 46% improved physical activity practices.

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 Hidalgo County, this is $2.9 million in estimated health care cost savings and almost $595,610 in food costs.

Success Stories

One EFNEP Assistant collected the following information from 250 graduates:

  • They learned to thaw meats correctly (One client said, “No wonder we often got stomach problems—I would leave chicken on the sink all day”).
  • They learned about eating correct portion sizes (to their surprise, they have enough to eat).
  • 50% of them had problems with constipation but when they learned about fiber and started including high fiber foods in their meals and drinking plenty of water, the problem went away.
  • At the start of the classes, 50% of these clients were not drinking milk. During the milk lesson, osteoporosis was discussed, and the clients became concerned. They started drinking 1% milk and eating milk products.
  • 55% lost at least 4 pounds just by eating well and watching what they ate.


[back to top]

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.