SNAP-Ed program comes to PC

By Kelsey Kimbler -

EATON — There is a new SNAP-Ed program in Preble County, with Jackson Hile as the new Program Assistant. Hile and Extension Educator Christy Millhouse attended the Preble County Board of Commissioners meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 14 to present the program to the board and brainstorm ideas to make the program successful moving forward.

According to Hile, the mission of the SNAP-Ed program is to prevent obesity by promoting good nutrition habits and physical activity, which also serves to prevent chronic disease. They do that by working to create a community where the healthy choice is the easy choice. Examples of that include: public buildings with vending machines that sell bottled water instead of pop, farmers’ markets that double the amount of produce you can purchase when using SNAP benefits, and salad bars with lots of fresh produce available in school cafeterias. Those are examples of the healthy choice being the easy choice.

Although SNAP-Ed is a federally-funded program, it is implemented through Ohio State, a Land Grant university.

SNAP-Ed is embedded in Family and Consumer Sciences, which is one of the four areas of Extension. One main focus of FCS is nutrition. This program brings Extension and FCS an increased capacity to reach the community in many positive ways because they have so many community Educators and do not depend on any Extension dollars to operate. SNAP-Ed serves exclusively low-income audiences; a population that is typically underserved in communities because of lack of resources. They operate by creating relationships and collaboration with community stakeholders, leaders, educators, and social service organizations.

While every county operates differently, SNAP-Ed is further able to increase its reach by partnering in programming with each of the four areas of Extension. In addition to the work they do with FCS, ANR and SNAP-Ed will team up to work with community gardens, CD will team up with SNAP-Ed to battle food insecurity by working with corner stores in food deserts, and 4-H will partner with SNAP-Ed through youth cooking classes.

They also represent Ohio State University Extension by educating legislators at all levels of government on the program and how they serve the needs of the community. They provide powerful stories from real people about the difference SNAP-Ed Program Assistants have made in their lives and the lives of their families.

Millhouse introduced Hile during the Preble County Board of Commissioners meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 14.

“It is all grant-funded, so it is basically free to us to have an almost full time person doing programming,” she said.

Hile talked to the board about the different programming they offer through SNAP-Ed and the ages/demographics they serve.

The program can go into the Preble County schools, only if they are 50 percent or more on free and reduced lunch. So Hile said he would check once the school year began and see if he could offer programming to the various school districts.

SNAP-Ed can also be offered through community centers, libraries, senior centers, and various other organizations that serve those receiving benefits from the State of Ohio.

Hile asked the board if they would recommend him reaching out to any organizations in Preble County. They suggested Preble County Council on Aging, Job and Family Services, Head Start, and a few other organizations.

By Kelsey Kimbler

Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH

Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH