In Washington state, WSU EFNEP staff and volunteers
provide in-depth nutrition education for more than 3,000 low income
families with children, and to more than 5,000 young people each
year. Garrett says he'd like to see the program expanded.
WSU Pierce County Extension
"Washington is consistently in the top five states in terms of
hunger and food insecurity despite the paradox of being a major
agricultural state," Garrett said. "And, there's been some mission
creep as we now confront issues such as obesity and nutrition-related
illnesses like diabetes."
undersecretary for Research, Education and Economics Joseph Jen
confirmed de la Garza's comments on EFNEP's return on investment.
shows that one dollar invested in EFNEP results in $10.64 in reduced
health care costs," Jen said. "And, for every dollar spent to
implement EFNEP, $2.48 is saved on food expenditures (by program
Despite its national success and a return on investment that would
be the envy of any investor, federal financial support for the
program has declined.
federal FY04 budget cut EFNEP funding by 10 percent. But, Garrett
says that flat financial support over the life of the program
means it has not kept pace with inflation.
"Annual funding has been constant at around $58 million nationally
since 1983, while our purchasing power has declined," Garrett
said. "Fifty-eight million in 1983 dollars translates to about
$12 million in today's dollars."
Efforts are underway to not only restore the funding in the next
federal budget, but to expand it by at least five percent.
Speaking at the awards ceremony, USDA deputy undersecretary Rodney
Brown succinctly summarized the key reason why the program deserves
support and funding. "EFNEP works," Brown said.