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Devin D. Thorpe

Devin Thorpe

USDA’S SNAP-Ed Grants Common Threads $1 Million To Expand Nutrition Education To Children In Texas’ Six Largest Counties

The nonprofit will bring health and wellness education to over 42,000 individuals across Texas this school year

Press Release – AUSTIN, TEXAS (SEPTEMBER 21, 2017) – Common Threads, a nonprofit organization that provides hands-on cooking and nutrition education to children, parents and teachers in underserved communities, announces its expansion across the state of Texas through the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) SNAP-Ed program. The non-profit will offer its programs to school districts and community-based organizations in the state’s six largest counties: Bexar (San Antonio), Dallas, El Paso, Harris (Houston), Tarrant (Fort Worth) and Travis (Austin) counties to empower children with the nutrition knowledge they need to make healthy eating choices and prevent diet-related diseases.

This marks the largest expansion for Common Threads in the 15-year history of the organization, which will increase its number of service markets from 9 to 14. Through the 1-million-dollar grant awarded by the USDA’S FNS SNAP-Ed program, Common Threads expects to teach 42,000 individuals this school year in Texas, where they will prepare and enjoy more than 1 million healthy, affordable meals and snacks.

“In Texas, 1 in 5 children is obese or overweight and compounding this problem is the food insecurity confronting 18.7% of Texans. The health disparities we see today are preventable, and we have seen that our approach helps children learn valuable lessons they can use to lead healthier lives,” said Common Threads CEO Linda Novick O’Keefe. “Our evidence-based programs offer access to nutritious food while providing children, families, social service providers and educators throughout Texas with hands-on experiences designed to promote lifelong healthy habits.”

Common Threads will offer its Small Bites program, a series of eight nutrition lessons for preK-8th grade students combining math, language arts and science concepts with knife-free cooking. The lessons are aligned to National Health Education Standards and the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), which support the Center for Disease Control’s Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child model. A recent evaluation of Small Bites, presented at the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior meeting in Washington, DC, showed that the program significantly increased the number of students who answered nutrition knowledge questions correctly, eat a variety of vegetables at least once daily, and who show their families how to cook at home.

Common Threads will offer additional programs including Parent Workshops and Grocery Store Tours to engage parents on topics like basic nutrition, meal planning, shopping on a budget and how to get kids “cooking for life.” Program implementation will be possible through partnerships with schools and community-based organizations in each county, such as Institute for Healthy Living and Afterschool All-Stars. All programs offered are supported by Common Bytes, an online resource with a library of 100+ healthy recipes, interactive recipe journey games for children and instructional videos on safe, healthy cooking in the home.

Schools and community organizations in Bexar (San Antonio), Dallas, El Paso, Harris (Houston), Tarrant (Fort Worth) and Travis (Austin) counties interested in Common Threads programming can contact Nekosi Nelson at For more information on Common Threads, visit

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