Remote learning options provide opportunity for SNAP educators

June 19, 2020

For almost everything these days – from getting a haircut to connecting with family and friends – there’s an old, or pre coronavirus, face-to-face way of doing things, and then there’s a new and different way. Zooming!

That’s how the Food Bank of Delaware will offer SNAP education classes. SNAP is the acronym for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, previously known as food stamps. Trained educators from the Food Bank of Delaware reach out to residents – including children who may receive SNAP – to provide interactive education about how to make healthy food choices, and also how to prepare nutritious food while relying on limited resources.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, classes were conducted face-to-face in public settings, such as schools, libraries, and child-care centers. Obviously, that’s no longer possible, so SNAP educator Alicia Vogel converted existing curriculum to a remote learning format using Zoom.

One of the first challenges Vogel faced was a lack of a model or template for remote – but not independent or self-paced – online learning. Vogel reached out to resource people in her network, and received some coaching through the University of Delaware’s Cooperative Extension.

“I had to acquire new skills,” she said. Educators use PowerPoints that include embedded video demonstrations created by the Food Bank’s nutrition team. Zoom’s “chat” option during presentation provides students an opportunity to ask questions; educators will be able to respond in real time.

Starting in July, kids will have an opportunity to enroll in these nutrition classes – traditionally held in person – at three Sussex County libraries: Laurel, Selbyville, and Frankford. Because the kids may want to make the recipe at home, the lessons will be available for reference on the library’s website.

Classes for kids ages 8-12 will start at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, July 7 at the Laurel Public Library and continue through Tuesday, July 28. The class is actually a series called Kids CHEF, a 4-week program that covers the MyPlate food groups and gives kids the confidence to read/ make a recipe. They can also taste a food that might be new to them, Vogel said.

Participants will receive the Kid CHEF kit and activity packet; recipes will be sent by email. The kit can be picked up at the library’s reception desk.

Students can enroll now through the Laurel Library website. After clicking on a link for registration, parents will need to sign a permission form via email. Interested participants can also contact Laurel’s Youth Services Librarian Stacy Lane at stacy.lane@lib.de.us or call 303-875-3184.

Other library-based SNAP-ED programs are: Serving Up MyPlate Zoom lesson, 2-3 p.m. July 9 at the Frankford library and on Aug. 18 at the Selbyville Library.

Are Zoom classes effective? It’s too soon to know. Not every family has a computer or internet access. In addition, remote learning lacks social interaction, and the ingredients are not provided. But the obvious benefit is that students view from the safety of their home!

Stay tuned for more online programing from the nutrition team at the Food Bank of Delaware!

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