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Mass Transit Social Marketing Campaign

Providence Public Library

Food Demonstrations

Women's Parolee System

Container Gardening

Hotline


Mass Transit Social Marketing Campaign

Bus Panel-Click to enlargeIt is well known that reaching food stamp audiences with effective nutrition education messages that motivate behavior change is difficult. The “aperture” in social marketing, i.e. the time, place and circumstance when the target is most likely to be receptive to intervention, may well be while utilizing mass transportation. In Rhode Island, a focused social marketing effort targeting food stamp eligible families was launched using multiple modes of mass transit advertising.

The goal of the University of Rhode Island’s USDA-funded Family Nutrition Program has been to promote the benefits of healthy eating within the constraints of a limited budget. Stretching the food dollar, and increasing consumption of fruits, vegetables, and calcium have been key campaign themes. These themes have been delivered to the target population through large bus shelter posters, interior and exterior bus card posters, interior bus digital messaging , and print media. Bus shelter posters (4’ x 6’) were designed, displayed and rotated throughout targeted, high food stamp caseload neighborhoods. The first two rounds of posters sported six different whimsical facial expressions composed of a variety of healthy foods. Richly colored and eye-catching, the posters promoted key campaign messages using minimal text and a prominent toll-free number. Newer designs utilizing the mass transit system have promoted the themes of stretching the food dollar, container gardening, and healthy weights in children. Evaluation methods have included mass transit user surveys, key informant interviews, and hotline call tallies. Over 30,000 copies of educational materials developed to reinforce campaign themes have been distributed by way of direct mail to hotline callers and through food stamp offices, schools, and health centers serving the food-stamp eligible population.

Click on any of these posters to enlarge
Ad Panel 3 Ad Panel 2 Ad Panel 1

Once again utilizing the Rhode Island Mass Stay Healthy-Click to EnlargeTransit system, three messages promoting a healthy lifestyle for children as a means for combating childhood obesity have been developed. The newly launched campaign appears on interior and exterior bus panels. Messages are targeted towards low-income parents with information on simple ways to achieve healthier weights in their children. Key messages are Eat Breakfast, Move More, and Add More Fruits and Vegetables. Free recipes, tip sheets and personalized information are available by calling the prominently displayed toll-free hotline. The posters will also be duplicated for display in food stamp offices, Title I school cafeterias, and health centers serving the target audience.

 
Healthy Breakfast-Click to Enlarge Fruits & Veggies-Click to Enlarge 
Move More-Click to Enlarge

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Providence Public Library

Providence Public libraryThe Good Food Gives Good Life campaign successfully collaborated with the Providence Public Library to design two sets of literacy / nutrition education materials for use with low-income ESL adults and families with young children. The “Food Talk-ESL” curriculum was developed to introduce adults learning English to the concept of healthy eating. The curriculum consists of four low-literacy lesson plans introducing such topics as the USDA Food Guide Pyramid, label reading, unit pricing and food safety. The curriculum also included student activities and background materials for leaders. Three teaching cycles using the Food Talk Curriculum have been completed, reaching 268 food stamp eligible patrons of the Providence Public Library.

For preschool children and their families, four Cradles to Crayons Reading Kits were developed to combine family reading time with nutrition education. These kits include the following: Animal Action ABC, Lunch, I Need a Lunchbox, and Pete’s a Pizza. The kits feature four books with a food and / or physical activity theme at a reading level appropriate for preschool-age children. Accompanying materials developed and included in each of the four kits were games and crafts specific to the particular book subject and which reinforced nutrition themes. The four kits were each duplicated for a total of 24 kits. Reading Kits are currently in circulation in four branches of the Providence Public Library serving low-income neighborhoods as well as at the library a the State Department of Corrections, for use by women inmates and their children, and the library at the area Children’s Hospital.

Due to the success of the preschool kits, four additional Nutrition Reading Kits were developed to serve middle-school aged children (2 books) and new mothers (2 books). These kits are checked out like other library books and nutrition handouts of interest can be retained for personal use by the reader. The second set of kits include the following and are currently in circulation at the Providence Public Library: Salsa Stories, One Grain of Rice, How Should I Feed My Child? and Pregnancy Nutrition - Good Health for You and Your Baby.

Knowing that low-income families utilize free library internet access, a list of interactive nutrition and food safety web sites was compiled and uploaded onto the Providence Public Library web site. Web sites were carefully selected and categorized for target audience (e.g. adults, children grades K-3, 4-8, 9-12, teachers), and rated for accuracy of information, skill level needed, and ease of use. Users can visit these interactive nutrition sites to select and learn about topics of interest for themselves, their children, or their classroom. New sites will be added periodically in order to keep the information current.

Providence Public Library Site

Success Stories

Feedback from both parents and librarians about the Providence Public Library Nutrition Reading Kits has been overwhelmingly positive. One mother of a five-year-old stated, “I love the kit, Pete’s a Pizza. the activates are fun and it allied my child to become excited about food. Now I let him pick out any kit her wants - it is very exciting for him.” Attitudes about healthy eating and good nutrition have been positively changed in school-aged children, according to the librarians. one librarian stated, “Kids love the nutrition kits, they go right for the kits at the after-school programs.” The kits are also used in the Creating Readers curriculum for kids age 4-5. The program director had this to say about the nutrition kits: “These are great because they are more than a book! The hands-on activities extend the message for children and parents. The kits are easy to tie in with what parents are trying to teach their children. And once one nutrition kit is taken out, parents tend to take out the entire series.”

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Food Demonstrations

Expanding its reach to the target audience in an even more accessible approach, the campaign implemented cooking demonstrations that were conducted at food stamp offices throughout the state of Rhode Island. A series of hands-on workshops were conducted at public library branches serving target neighborhoods. These programs allow food stamp participants and food stamp eligible families and individuals to receive and utilize free nutrition education materials promoting the desired messages. Sample recipes incorporating low cost, high nutrient density foods were prepared and offered to participants to help promote the message that easy and flavorful nutritious meals using low-cost ingredients are possible. The most popular recipes demonstrated were Bean and Cheese Quesadillas, Carrots with Tomatoes and Macaroni, and Pyramid Roll-Ups.

Success Stories

Food Demonstration-Click to enlargeThe cooking demonstrations at state Food Stamp offices, health centers and food pantries have been extremely well received. Many clients are surprised to learn that the food samples and information are free. One woman stated, "Is this free? This food is so good! I can’t believe there are beans in this recipe!” After trying the recipes with beans and vegetables, many client are pleasantly surprised at the taste. They take the recipes and are excited about making the new foods for their families. Children also enjoy eating the samples, and their attitudes about vegetables often change for the better. They are more open to eating new and different foods. In addition, many of the employees at these centers have enjoyed seeing their client’s’ perceptions about healthy eating improve. Many employees ask, “When are you coming back? This is a wonderful service for our clients." May I take some materials to give out to clients on other days?” Food Demonstration-Cilck to enlargeAfter each cooking demonstration, free nutrition education materials and recipes are provided for clients in the waiting areas. All of the information provides the FSNEP toll-free number should the client have further comments or questions.

Enjoy these recipes !
Pyramid Roll-Up
Yogurt Parfait
Quesadillas
Carrots with Tomatoes & Macaroni

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Women's Parolee System - Department of Corrections

For the first time, nutrition education outreach will extend to the food stamp eligible female population transitioning from the Women's Facility at the Rhode Island Department of Corrections. The average age of these women is 34 years, ranging from 18-62 years. Female prison census as of March 2002 was 133, with an average length of stay of 5.1 months.
Women transitioning from prison have unique nutritional needs and many lack basic nutrition knowledge. Most are mothers, with three-quarters reportedly having at least one child, with an average of 2.3 children. Many are unskilled, and have histories of substance abuse, physical and emotional abuse, psychiatric disorders, sexually transmitted diseases, and low self esteem. A nutrition education needs assessment survey for this population was developed and administered to fifty-five females in the process of transitioning out of the Correctional Institute. A registered dietitian conducted and evaluated the needs assessment and will deliver programming based on survey results (see attachment #2). Results indicate that this audience believes that choosing healthy food is important to good health and the majority have indicated an interest in:
• General Nutrition
• Stretching Your Food Dollar
• Planning Healthy Meals
• Cooking Healthy Meals.
Survey data also indicates some lack of knowledge in the number of servings and the correct serving sizes of foods within the food guide pyramid.
Meetings have been held with URI, the consulting dietitian, and key personnel at the Department of Correction's Women in Transition and Mentoring Programs. Methods under consideration for delivering nutrition education programming include group programs at the DOC and other key outreach facilities, correspondence courses, and computer-generated courses that would teach not only basic nutrition and living skills but computer literacy as well.

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Container Gardening

Pick Your Own-Click to enlargeIn an effort to increase vegetable consumption in food-stamp-eligible Rhode Islanders, a container gardening campaign was developed in Spring 2003 as an educational outreach effort of RI FSNE. Interior bus posters promoting the "Pick Your Own…Free" program were displayed on Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) buses whose routes penetrated highest food stamp caseload neighborhoods. The highly visible and engaging full-color posters, located directly behind RIPTA drivers, encouraged interested parties to call a toll-free hotline for program information. Eligible participants were then enrolled in one of 12 urban container gardening workshops led by volunteer URI Master Gardeners. A total of 225Container Gardening-Click to enlarge participants planted salad ingredients -- a variety of vegetables and herbs -- while learning container gardening principles, health benefits of vegetable consumption, and tips on low-cost vegetable recipe preparation. Participants were given both the toll-free Master Gardening and Food Stamp Nutrition hotline numbers for additional support. All supplies, including containers, soil, and vegetables, were donated by local Rhode Island businesses. Anecdotal feedback of the workshops was overwhelmingly positive, and follow-up evaluation surveys of participants indicated that as a result of the program, 90% increased their vegetable consumption.

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Hotline

Hotline-Click to Enlarge

1-877-FOOD-URI
The hotline is available to low-income residents of Rhode Island. Those staffing the hotline provide information on nutritious, low-cost foods and meals.

University of Rhode Island URI Cooperative Extension Senior Nutrition Awareness Program (SNAP)
Food Stamp Nutrition Connection USDA Foodstamp Program

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