SC DHEC’s Snap-Ed Initiative To Help At-Risk Communities Get The Nutrients, Physical Exercise They Need

YORK COUNTY, S.C. — During COVID-19, it’s no secret staying healthy is key.

But for some folks, vitamin-rich foods and physical activity aren’t easily accessible.

To help at-risk populations, SC DHEC is offering a free nutrition education program called SNAP Education.

The SNAP Education is a free nutritional program for eligible families to make healthy food choices within a limited food budget.

It allows income-based groups in rural areas who face food insecurities to choose a more physically healthy lifestyle that’s consistent with current USDA dietary guidelines.

SNAP-ED is currently offered in 21 different counties to children, adults and seniors.

In York County, the initiative is involved with the York County Eat Smart, Move More Coalition.

In Rock Hill, SNAP-ED is also offering adult nutrition education programs to the Highland Park Senior Center. It’s also completed a program at Finley Road Elementary.

SNAP-ED has been around for at least 13 years.

During pre-Covid days, SNAP-ED leaders could be found in schools, community centers, churches and even senior centers offering nutrition education classes on healthy meals at home, shopping sensibly, meal planning, portion sizes along with cooking demonstrations and taste testings.

Now, with COVID-19, SNAP-ED has gone virtual, moving its curriculum and classes online via Zoom and Microsoft Teams.

You can also receive weekly text messages that include a healthy recipe, eating tips, like lower sodium or less sugar, physical activity ideas and links to outside resources.

Just text the information on your screen to get signed up.

SNAP-ED is funded through USDA grants annually. This year, the program in South Carolina received more than 3.7 million. Next year, it’s estimating a similar number.

Jessica Morrison, a SNAP-ED nutrition education specialist coordinator, supervises 4 different specialists and helps them coordinate the various classes. She also teaches classes to adults and seniors.

A nutrition leader, Morrison says the most rewarding part of her job is making a difference and seeing real changes among folks she says become like family.

“They’ll tell us their blood pressured has been lowered. Or that their diabetes is well under control or that they’ve lost weight, or even the best part that I think is that they feel happy, they feel healthy, they feel good and that they can do more. They can keep up with their children or keep up with their grandchildren,” said Jessica Morrison, SNAP-Ed NES Coordinator. “That is the best things that I miss hearing and that make this program a success. I can remember about a time when I was teaching an after school program, and I walked in, I think it was the third or fourth lesson and one of the little kids, actually it was several of them, they ran up to me and they gave me a hug and they were like Mrs. Jessica, Mrs. Jessica, I’m eating a whole grain and it was, just melted my heart. So, we do miss that so much but moving virtually, we are trying to find creative ways to make it more interactive.”

To see if you’re eligible, visit

To learn more about the program, go to scdhec dot gov and type nutrition education program or snap education in the search box.

You can also send an email to or call 1-866-369-9333.

In the video above, CN2’s Sarah Obeid breaks down what you can find in your SNAP backpack.

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