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* Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program
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June 4, 2007

Food and nutrition programs to observe Hunger Awareness

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - People often think of giving to food banks around the holidays, but people going hungry is a year-round problem, says a Purdue University Cooperative Extension specialist.

Tuesday (June 5) is Hunger Awareness Day, and Purdue has three programs that provide education and resources to combat hunger and lack of food year round. Indiana's Food for the Hungry, Family Nutrition Program, and Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program are administered through or have partnerships with Purdue's Cooperative Extension Service.

"These three programs help to combat hunger and improve the diets of low-income individuals," said Laura Palmer, food extension specialist in the Department of Foods and Nutrition and assistant director of Indiana's Food for the Hungry. "This day serves as a platform for domestic hunger relief organizations to raise awareness about hunger in America.

"Hunger Awareness Day gives us the opportunity to coordinate our efforts in focusing the nation's attention on one of the most solvable problems facing every community in America. Increasing awareness about the problem of hunger in Indiana will help ensure that there are enough resources to feed people who are hungry."

Some program leaders in various counties will organize events for Hunger Awareness Day. Lynn Schocke, family nutrition adviser with the Purdue Extension Service in Madison County is participating in a tailgate food giveaway from 9-11 a.m. at St. John's Lutheran Church in Anderson.

Schocke, who works with the federally funded Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program, provides information to families of limited income about making healthy food choices within their income restrictions. Food demonstrations and cooking classes are offered at the food pantries to provide healthy meal ideas and demonstrations with the commodity foods that clients receive from the food pantries. 

"People on limited incomes are doing the best they can, but sometimes their circumstances force them to choose between food and buying gas or paying the electric bill," Schocke says. "Often the less healthy foods are the inexpensive foods, but we provide information about making better food choices with a tight budget or by using resources from food banks."

The Expanded Food and Nutrition Program began in 1969 and is offered in every state. In 2006 the program reached more than 7,400 people from 2,099 Hoosier families. More than 14,975 sessions were taught to participants, and 91 percent reported they improved their nutrition habits.

The Family Nutrition Program (FNP) is a nutrition education program that targets limited resource individuals and families in Indiana. It is funded by the Purdue Cooperative Extension Service in partnership with Indiana Family & Social Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The program offers educational programs focusing on nutrition and meal planning, food purchasing, preparation and safety, and resource management to low-income Indiana residents.

Indiana's Food for the Hungry Program is a partnership of the Emergency Food Assistance Program of Indiana within the lieutenant governor's office and Purdue. The program provides practical application-based food safety and nutrition information to volunteers and staff who handle food in not-for-profit emergency food organizations.

Hunger Awareness Day is sponsored by America's Second Harvest, the nation's food bank network. This year's theme is "The Face of Hunger Will Surprise You." More than one in 10 households in the United States experience hunger or the risk of hunger. More than 35 million Americans lack access to food, and some people in these households skip meals or eat too little, sometimes going without food for a day.

Amy Patterson Neubert, (765) 494-9723, apatterson@purdue.edu

Laura Palmer, (765) 496-2626, lpalmer@purdue.edu

Lynn Schocke, (765) 641-9514, schocke@purdue.edu

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; purduenews@purdue.edu

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