Tyson Foods and Elanco Partner with Urban League of Middle Tennessee, TSU Cooperative Extension and Community Food Advocates to Educate Leaders on the Misconceptions of SNAP Benefits
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Area lawmakers will gain first-hand knowledge on what it’s like to try to feed a family for a week on limited resources when they take part in the SNAP Challenge Thursday, May 29 on the Tennessee State University campus.
Hosted by the TSU Cooperative Extension program, the KNOW Hunger Challenge will take place at the Farrell Westbrook Complex (the Barn) from 1 until 5 p.m.
The Challenge, presented by Tyson Foods and Elanco, is an interactive event designed to increase awareness and fight food insecurity by offering education and nutritional opportunities through Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and firsthand experience with the challenge families face in a budgeted shopping experience. The Urban League of Middle Tennessee is also part of the two-year partnership initiative.
According to Tyson officials, the event is significant because millions of low-income families struggle to provide their families with nutritious meals despite benefits from SNAP, with one in five Tennesseans enrolled in the program.
“Many people can’t fathom feeding a family on $100 per week,” said Jeff Wood, Tyson Foods’ director of Community Relations. “We do this programming to help people understand what SNAP really is, and what it’s not. The experience is very eye opening for most people. Having gone through the challenge myself, I can tell you it’s life changing.”
The SNAP Challenge features teams of legislatures and other elected officials that will be given $100 each to shop for a week’s worth of food for a family of four. Tennessee State University SNAP-ED educators, as well as hunger advocates from across Tennessee will help teams make their purchases.
The teams are charged with shopping at a local store, then return to the University where their purchases are presented to a panel of judges. The food will be judged on effective use of funds, nutritional value and culinary creativity.
Following the event, the food purchased will be donated to The Nashville Food Project.
“This nation-wide challenge has taken place across the country and serves as a reminder just how difficult it can be to buy food for a family of four when faced with limited resources,” said Rita Fleming, assistant professor of Health Education. “We will have three of our Cooperative Extension SNAP-Ed agents providing assistance on how to make healthy choices on limited funds.”
According to Fleming, the TSU Cooperative Extension program mission is to help educate and provide information to limited resource urban and rural individuals, families, small farmers, and other groups.
“We use a variety of program delivery strategies,” she added, “offering practical and useful research-based programs, resources, and publications in agriculture and natural resources, family & consumer sciences, 4-H youth development, and community resource and economic development.”
This SNAP Challenge is part of KNOW Hunger Nashville, a two-year initiative by Tyson Foods, Urban League of Middle Tennessee and area food advocates to raise awareness of food insecurity and nutrition education. The organizations will also host local health fairs, thought leadership exercises and educational opportunities. The group hosted a health fair with the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Wellness Project last November and plans to launch a website with Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee later this summer that’s designed to help families stretch their food resources further.
Elanco and Tyson Foods created the half-day SNAP Challenge in the spring of 2012. Since that time, 18 groups comprised of more than 450 people have participated.
For more information, contact Fleming at 615.963.2135.
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