Legislators Hear From CCE About Nutrition Education Program

MAYVILLE — Representatives Cornell University Cooperative Extension highlighted a nutrition education program dedicated to families at two Wednesday legislative committee meetings.

The Human Services Committee and the Planning and Economic Development Committee heard from Else Alonge, Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program nutrition educator, and Emily Reynolds, Cornell Cooperative Extension executive director, about the program that focuses on imparting healthy and nutritional lessons to low-income families and their children.

Alonge said there are two educators, herself and a part-time person, who works in the south county area. The program consists of home visits in which classes on nutrition are given with a few options for curriculum, including a general curriculum; healthy children, healthy families; a diabetes curriculum; and a curriculum on stretching food dollars while still eating healthy.

“I do a lot of home visits,” Alonge said. “It’s really good to get in their households, see what they’re eating and saying … ‘How can we make this better?'”

The program allows families to sign up for classes in eight-week intervals, with educators meeting with them for one hour a week for eight weeks. The classes are hands on and provide information on planning healthy meals, stretching food resources, handling food safely and preparing foods.

Reynolds said the program has been shown to save about $10 in health costs for every EFNEP dollar invested.

Group classes for families interested are also available, Alonge said. It can be trickier to get a group of families together to be involved in the program, she said.

The program is geared toward lower-income families, which Reynolds said 91 percent of participants are income eligible. Those who qualify for the Women, Infants and Children program or other such assistance programs would be eligible. However, Alonge said the program does not turn anyone away.

For more information on the program, visit www.cce.cornell.edu/chautauqua or call 664-9502 ext. 221.