Making a Difference
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 Texas
In Texas, ethnically diverse EFNEP nutrition assistants reach youth and adult groups whose principal language may be English or Spanish.
- 18,867 families with enrolled in EFNEP.
- 85,052 youth contacts were made through the EFNEP youth program.
- 75% of families were at or below 100% of federal poverty level.
- 83% of families enrolled in one or more food assistance programs at entry.
- 3,425 EFNEP participants were pregnant and/or nursing.
- 79% of EFNEP adult participants were Hispanic/Latino.
- 7% of EFNEP adult participants were Black.
- 7% of EFNEP adult participants were White, Not Hispanic/Latino.
- 2% of EFNEP adult participants were Asian.
Volunteers Strengthen EFNEP
In 2015, 2,631 adult volunteers donated 23,650 hours of work to EFNEP in Texas. At the Texas rate of $24.66/hour, this volunteerism has a minimum dollar value of $583,199. Volunteers make a difference in their own communities, and contribute to EFNEP’s continued success.
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. Specifically, EFNEP participants consumed 0.8 more cups of fruits and vegetables and 0.3 additional cups of milk at completion, compared to entry.
- 83% improved in one or more food resource management practices such as using a list for grocery shopping.
- 91% improved in one or more nutrition practices such as using the “Nutrition Facts” on food labels to make food choices.
- 66% improved in one or more food safety practices such as thawing foods safely.
- 37% 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.
- 81% improved ability to choose foods according to the Dietary Guidelines.
- 45% improved their safe food handling practices more often.
- 39% improved physical activity practices.
- 47% improved ability to prepare simple, nutritious, affordable food.
- 39% acquired skills or knowledge to be more food secure.
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 Texas, this is $43 million in estimated health care cost savings and almost $8.6 million in food costs.
El Paso County
Returning to give another class at Sambrano Elementary School in El Paso County, Martha B., Nutrition Education Associate, was approached by Mrs. C., mother of a 10-year old girl who is taking the EFNEP classes for youth. Mrs. C. told Martha that while preparing sandwiches for dinner, her daughter stopped her to make sure that she had ingredients from all food groups. The daughter took the bag from the bread and looked at the Food Guide Pyramid, and checked to see that she had one of each food group in the sandwich. Mrs. C. was overjoyed because her daughter is changing her eating habits and is pulling the family with her.
“The other day while I was at work, a fellow co-worker had purchased some juice that was only 5% juice. While I was looking at the bottle, another co-worker asked what I was doing and I told her that the juice was a drink and not a juice. This co-worker asked me how did I know. I told her that I learned from my nutrition class about 4 weeks ago that to be considered juice, it must be 100% juice to be good and healthy for you. My co-workers were really shocked when I told the information. I just wanted to tell you about the event that occurred and how much the information that I received from EFNEP came in handy. Thank you!” –EFNEP Adult Client
If you would like to read more success stories from our participants please visit the county pages through the following links: Bexar County, Cameron County, Dallas County, El Paso County, Harris County, Hidalgo County, Kleberg County, Nueces County, Tarrant County, Travis County, and Willacy County.
Last updated: 21 January, 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.