On September 1, 2011, University of Georgia Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) Coordinator Gail Hanula visited Dalton-Whitfield to speak to the Archway Prenatal to Pre-K Issue Work Group about EFNEP and its applicability in the community. EFNEP is a federally funded program that is delivered at the state level through Cooperative Extension. Traditionally, the program places an EFNEP paraprofessional in the community under the direction of a Cooperative Extension Family and Consumer Sciences Agent. The EFNEP paraprofessional then teaches classes to low income families with small children centered on healthy eating. The program emphasizes cheap, easy meals that take 15 minutes or less to prepare. The paraprofessional works with existing organizations to deliver the classes/lessons at social service sites.
At the meeting, Gail Hanula explained that there are some logistical hurdles to getting an EFNEP paraprofessional here, including the fact that Whitfield County no longer has a Family and Consumer Sciences agent due to state budget cuts. The state Cooperative Extension staff is currently considering alternatives to the traditional set-up and will be in touch with the community soon regarding this program.
The Dalton-Whitfield Archway Partnership Prenatal to Pre-K Issue Work Group previously identified lack of adequate nutrition as the biggest problem facing our youngest citizens. 2009 data released by the Whitfield County WIC program shows that 78% of all newborns and 67% of infants and children under the age of 4 in Whitfield County are on WIC. A chart releasing this data can be viewed here. Additional poverty information compiled by the Archway Partnership for Whitfield County can be accessed by clicking here.