Kentucky expanding food stamp program to teach recipients to make a little go a long way

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Kentucky is expanding its food stamp program, but not in the way you might think.

The state is adding more SNAP educators in all 120 counties. SNAP stands for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance program. The SNAP educator teaches elderly and low-income residents how to survive on food stamps. The classes focus on healthy low cost food. 

April Dawson is the first to say she's no Rachel Ray, though she certainly connected with her crowd at a cooking class Tuesday in the Spanish Cove Elderly Housing Center.  "SNAP, as many of you know it is food stamps," she tells those in attendance.

Dawson said she gives small lessons in how to cook healthy, how to spend their limited food dollars and how to budget. It's an important lesson for 87-year-old Vanola Estes, who gets just $40 a month in food stamps. Estes said, " I'm buying more vegetables and raw food."

Kentucky is spending $10 million to hire more people like Dawson to teach elderly and low-income families how to survive on food stamps. There will be three new SNAP educators at the UK extension office in Louisville.

Approximately 135,000 people receive SNAP benefits in Louisville, close to a million recipients statewide.

"It's Not a lot, but it helps a lot," Estes said.

Dawson may not be Rachel Ray, though she comes with a recipe to make a little stretch a very long way.

The average SNAP benefit is $264 a month.

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