FNS hypes nutrition in food stamp push

WASHINGTON, DC: The US Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is enlisting PR in its effort to improve diets.

WASHINGTON, DC: The US Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is enlisting PR in its effort to improve diets.

WASHINGTON, DC: The US Department of Agriculture’s Food and

Nutrition Service (FNS) is enlisting PR in its effort to improve

diets.



An educational campaign is about to be launched by the department to

promote greater use of food stamps by those who are eligible. The FNS

has awarded the dollars 61,000 contract to Arlington, VA’s ZGS

Communications, which will endeavor to educate all potentially eligible

individuals and households about the food-stamp program.



Shirley Watkins, Undersecretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer

Services, said that the group’s aim is to mobilize government

departments at the federal, state and local levels, as well as advocacy

groups and faith-based organizations. She emphasized that the campaign

will make clear food stamps are not welfare, and help ensure that people

with lower incomes receive proper nutrition.



While statistics from 1994 show 70% of eligible food stamp recipients

received their benefits, several groups - including the working poor and

households with immigrants - are considered to be less likely to

participate in the program. Only one-third of the eligible elderly, for

instance, received their benefits, while a mere 46% of households with

earnings participated.



The FNS has suggested that many of the poor who could participate in the

food-stamp program fail to use their benefits because they may be

influenced by the perceived stigma of using food stamps. Also, people

who had been on welfare but are now working may be unaware of their

eligibility.



Posters and brochures in both Spanish and English will be used. Also,

the FNS’s statement of work requests that the brochures be downloadable

from the Web.



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