program provides assistance
Rumsey, Staff Writer
IWhat do you do if you or your spouse loses
a job drastically reducing the amount of dollars going into the
bank account each week? Or perhaps a family member is diagnosed
with heart disease or diabetes, and you need to learn how to correctly
cook meals according to their dietary restrictions. Where can
one go to learn how to stretch a limited grocery budget to purchase
the healthy foods your family needs?
The Family Nutrition Program (FNP), a division of the Ripley County
Purdue Extension in Osgood, can assist anyone with all types of
household needs. According to Debby Black, family nutrition assistant,
the FNP provides informal educational programs that teach skills
which will improve the quality of life of an individual, family,
Sponsored by Purdue University and funded by a grant through the
USDA Food Stamp Program, the FNP is in almost all of the counties
in the state. These free classes are available to any one within
any income level, according to Black.
Classes are tailored to the specific needs of the client. Got
a picky eater? Theres a class for that. Want to improve
communication at family meal times? Black can give you strategies
to encourage your kids to talk. Need to learn how to cook? Black
can provide easy, healthy recipes and teach you how to cook them.
There are health and nutrition classes for pregnant teens as well
as classes on shopping on a tight grocery budget. A person recently
diagnosed with diabetes can learn all about a low-carb diet and
how to make the best food choices when grocery shopping or dining
Black will meet with a client at any location requested. For instance,
she can arrange classes in the home, at the extension office in
Osgood, or even at another public place such as the library.
Once a month, Black visits the food pantry in Milan providing
nutritious recipes, information on portion sizes and the FNP newsletter.
At the Buckeye Senior Center in Osgood, she will talk about the
changes to the body as it ages, how to use spices to flavor foods
when on a sodium restricted diet, or strategies on eating alone.
A recent class held at the library showed participants where to
cut out the little expenses that add up to bigger ones.
According to Black, she meets with a person an average of six
times, but will work with a client as long as needed. I
learn almost as much from the participants as they learn from
me, she said. Purdue also provides a small incentive at
the completion of the course, such as a measuring cup or cookbook.
Black has been helping families in the extension service area
since 2005. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Consumer and
Family Sciences from Purdue University. I really like the
job, she noted. I like helping turn challenges into
victories. The best part, she says, is seeing the aha! moment
when a person realizes that they really can make a change in their
Clients come to Black through a referral from an agency such as
WIC or Family Connections in Versailles or by directly calling
the extension office. At the initial visit, Black will work with
the client to evaluate the need, and then she will create a program
to address that specific need.
More information on the Family Nutrition Program can be found
by calling the Ripley County Purdue Extension office at 812-689-6511
or by visiting www.cfs.purdue.edu/extension.