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SNAP and SNAP-Ed: What’s the Difference?

By Ryan Johnson, Associate Program Director — Health and Nutrition

As we celebrate SNAP Education and Outreach Month, here are a few things you might not know about the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and SNAP Education (SNAP-Ed).
  • SNAP benefits help Minnesotans with limited financial resources buy food for well-balanced meals. SNAP-Ed helps these same people make healthy food choices and become more physically active.
  • SNAP is administered by the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS), with case management done by county human services offices. SNAP-Ed is implemented by University of Minnesota Extension and the seven Anishinaabe Tribes (Bois Forte, Fond du Lac, Grand Portage, Leech Lake, Mille Lacs, Red Lake, and White Earth).
  • Both SNAP and SNAP-Ed are federally funded by the United States Department of Agriculture through legislation commonly referred to as “the Farm Bill.”

SNAP-Ed educators partner with organizations throughout the state to provide classes on healthy eating and active living. In FY2016, Extension SNAP-Ed educators served almost 12,000 participants through direct education classes. Extension staff partnered with schools, faith-based organizations, public housing, grocery stores, community centers, farmers markets, and other community-based organization to deliver these classes.

In addition to classes, educators work on policy, system, and environmental changes with community agencies, coalitions, and food networks. You can learn more about how SNAP-Ed works at the University of Minnesota here:

There are currently 438,333 people participating in SNAP in Minnesota — that’s 8 out of every 100 Minnesotans. What’s more, almost 7 out of 10 Minnesota who are eligible for SNAP actually participate in the program, and 6 out of 10 Minnesotans over 60 years of age participate.

Eligible persons and seniors accessing SNAP. From MN DHS Dashboard.

A desire to boost these participation rates is why Minnesota DHS established a statewide SNAP outreach network. The community action agencies and hunger relief organizations in this network help people apply for SNAP. If you or someone you know needs help applying for SNAP or would like to know about other food resources, such as food shelves and meal programs, call the Minnesota Food HelpLine at 1-888-711-1151. The Minnesota Food HelpLine can provide eligibility screening and application assistance over the phone or online.

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