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Veneman Recognizes 35th Anniversary of Nutrition Program

Alisa Harrison (202) 720-4623
Marti Asner (202) 720-8188

WASHINGTON, March 2, 2004—Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman today announced the 2004 winners of the Excellence in Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) National Awards as part of the program's 35th Anniversary Celebration.

“We applaud the efforts of the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program, which has helped citizens with limited resources improve their health by making better food choices, increasing physical activity and using safe food handling techniques,” said Veneman. “Over the past 35 years, the programs has helped some 26 millions people build self-confidence and become leaders in their communities.”

“The economic value of EFNEP to the community at large is significant,” said Joseph J. Jen, undersecretary for Research, Education, and Economics. “Research shows that $1 invested in EFNEP results in $10.64 in reduced health care costs and for every $1 spent to implement EFNEP, $2.48 is saved on food expenditures.”

Funded by USDA's Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, EFNEP volunteers teach important skills through a series of lessons over several months. During an awards ceremony held on Capitol Hill, 24 individuals from 18 states were recognized for their efforts. The EFNEP award recognizes past adult and youth participants, the paraprofessionals and volunteers who teach the lessons, the professionals who provide leadershi and champions of the program.

One of the biggest champions of youth development and a real champion in her own right, 3-time Olympian gold medal winner Jackie Joyner-Kersee was on hand via video from her hometown of East St. Louis, IL. Joyner-Kersee congratulated the award winners for making a difference in the lives of the underserved in their own communities.

The 2004 Excellence in EFNEP award winners are:


Debra Glenn, Birmingham


Karen Wilken, Fort Collins


Carmen Rodriquez, Bridgeport; Zoraida Velazquez, New Haven


Chris Clark, Escambia County


Robin Orr, Urbana; Ilanda McBeath, Chicago;


Tanya Martin, Marion County


Susan Uthoff, Johnson County


Vella Adkins, Jackson County


Carol Jenkins, Orleans Parish


Margaret Randall, Amherst


Shirley Redding, Big Horn Country

New York

Fran Johnson, Suffolk County; Clinton Miller, New York City


Josefina Nieves, Lancaster County; Jan Scholl, University Park

South Carolina

Beth Cothran, Kershaw County


Eligio “Kika” de la Garza, retired Congressman, Texas District 15 and John David Franz, Hildago County


Wilhemina Jones, Chesapeake


Steven Garrett, Tacoma; Barbara Bennett, Spokane County


Linda Melcher, Laramie