New Texas A&M AgriLife program aims to help SNAP participants get healthier

Updated: Jan. 7, 2020 at 6:18 PM CST
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WICHITA COUNTY, Texas (TNN) - With one in six Texans struggling with hunger and food insecurity, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension is offering a new program for charities in Wichita County.

Steve Sparks, Wichita Falls Faith Mission’s CEO, said when his shelter works with clients, they try to heal mind, body and spirit; but for those on federal assistance, he said the body can sometimes get neglected.

Better Living for Texans is trying to solve that.

“If we can help them do that and then also with a program like this help them stay this way,” said Sparks, “maybe they can make this a lifestyle and pass it on to their families.”

For women enrolled in Faith Refuge’s career academy, today was the first step towards making that a reality.

Each were given a pedometer, a step log and a new water bottle to help them gain new skills over the next eight weeks.

While this is the first time the Walk and Talk program has taken place in Wichita County, Heather Simpson with Texas A&M Agrilife said she’s seen how this short amount of time can leave a lasting impact.

“They feel that they can go out back into society and be able to take care of themselves on limited resources and feel good,” she explained.

Faith Refuge joins nine other agencies that are working with Better Living for Texans to educate over 770,000 people across the county.

Simpson add, “it’s really nice to be able to serve the community and show that everybody does have the opportunity to eat healthy, to live healthy and to be healthy.”

During her time with the women, Simpson teaches them: the basics of food safety, how to cook a well-balance meal within a tight budget and how to make exercise a priority.

“It gives them that sense of empowerment that they can be creative and they can try something new," said Simpson.

Sparks added, “at the end of the day that’s our main goal is to men, women and families become self-sufficient.”

Better Living for Texans can host classes at any agency where at least fifty-percent of participants are receiving federal assistance. Simpson said she hopes to see a wide variety of classes continuing all year long.

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