SNAP-Ed Nutrition Education

Nutrition education is critical in reducing the high risk of obesity and chronic disease in low-income populations in Hawaii.  SNAP-Ed (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – Education) is a nutrition education program funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to promote healthy eating and healthy lifestyles among low-income populations.  The SNAP-Ed Program is focused on providing nutrition education support for SNAP-eligible Hawaii residents.  SNAP was formerly called the Food Stamp Program.

The Department of Health’s Nutrition Education Network (NEN) is contracted with the Department of Human Services to implement the SNAP-Ed Program in Hawaii.  NEN provides leadership, technical assistance and funding to programs and organizations promoting healthy nutrition education and access to the SNAP-eligible population (those at or below 185% Federal Poverty Level).

NEN Partnerships


YMCA of Honolulu implements a hands-on healthy cooking/gardening/physical activity nutrition education program for grades K-6 during the school year in 21 low-income afterschool sites on Oahu.  In addition, the YMCA conducts a year-round teen nutrition program at the Kalihi YMCA and one-week cooking camps during intersession at both the Kalihi and Leeward YMCAs.

Kalihi Palama Health Center (KPHC) successfully developed and implements a Nutrition Education Toolkit which is culturally tailored for the multi-ethnic, diverse community of Kalihi Palama. The program includes literature, recipe cards and hands-on cooking for KPHC clients, as well as a training for staff and volunteers.

Kokua Kalihi Valley Comprehensive Family Services connects gardening and healthy eating to promote increasing fruit and vegetable consumption among Native Hawaiians.  Programs and materials are customized for the populations with Native Hawaiian cultural backgrounds.

NEN also convenes the Live Better Together Collaborative, a group of funded partners and other key stakeholders interested promoting healthy eating and healthy lifestyles in the Kalihi community.  The purpose is to coordinate a comprehensive approach to reach community members.  This includes partnership and coordination with agencies and organizations, as well as coordination of community activities and resources supported with an overarching social marketing campaign.  Partners include:

  • City & County Dept. of Parks and Recreation
  • Honolulu City Council – Councilman Breene Harimoto
  • Dept. of Human Services – SNAP Program
  • University of Hawaii Cooperative Extension
  • YMCA
  • Kalihi Palama Health Center
  • Kokua Kalihi Valley Comprehensive Family Services 
  • Helping Hands
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • Office of Community Services
  • Waimanalo Youth and Family Collaborative

East Hawaii

Kohala Center provides nutrition education and cooking skills programs in schools and farmers markets in the East Hawaii district.  

Bay Clinic, Inc. provides cooking skills and nutrition education programs at five sites in the Hilo/East Hawaii area.