Eric Cooper, the president and CEO of the San Antonio Food Bank testified before the House Committee on Agriculture’s Nutrition Subcommittee yesterday. He spoke about ways in which incentives can help encourage low-income families to eat healthier.
Cooper testified about the importance of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) as the cornerstone of our country’s efforts to alleviate hunger by providing low-income families with vital resources to help access health food.
“The San Antonio Food Bank pairs healthy food access with nutrition education, with the goal of helping individuals and families choose, prepare and consume healthful foods,” Cooper said. “We use a wide range of nutrition education strategies – including establishing school gardens, teaching healthy cooking and partnering with healthcare organizations to promote healthy food choices in the communities they serve.”
The San Antonio Food Bank was awarded a federal grant through the Food Insecurity and Nutrition Incentive (FINI) program, a promising grant program established in the 2014 Farm Bill. The food bank is working with pregnant and post-partum SNAP recipients to determine if a combination of targeted, culturally appropriate health education and point-of-sale incentives can help increase the purchase and consumption of fruits and vegetables. The program, a partnership between a local grocer, H.E.B., and the local Children’s Hospital, is currently underway.
In his testimony today, Cooper said, “The FINI grants are proving to play an important role in helping our clients improve their diet. The SNAP program has successfully improved the nutritional needs of millions of low-income individuals. Congress should protect and strengthen the SNAP program and improve SNAP benefit adequacy for all recipients.”
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Feeding America® is the largest hunger-relief organization in the United States. Through a network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs, we provide meals to more than 40 million people each year. Feeding America also supports programs that prevent food waste and improve food security among the people we serve; educates the public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Visit www.feedingamerica.org, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.