Hero Image

Making Every Dollar Count Initiates Positive Behavioral Change

The Issue

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) helps give more than 23 million children the healthy food they need every day. While two-thirds of SNAP participants are children, elderly, and people with disabilities, who are not expected to work, SNAP also helps workers supplement low wages. The UC CalFresh Nutrition Education Program in the Butte Cluster is tasked with educating SNAP recipients on how to best spend their food dollars to ensure that they are able to make their food budget stretch for the entire month.

What Has ANR Done?

In FFY18, the Butte Cluster offered series-based lessons to over 300 participants in Sutter, Yuba, and Butte Counties from the Making Every Dollar Count (MEDC) curriculum. The MEDC curriculum has eight lessons; 1) Setting Goals, 2) Making Choices, 3) Stretching Your Dollar, 4) Budgeting Basics, 5) Paying Your Bills on Time, 6) When You Can’t Pay Cash, 7) Saving Money on Food, and 8) Food Advertising. The goal of the MEDC program is to give participants the tools they need to gain control of their finances. The MEDC lesson series was successfully delivered in collaboration with the implementation of the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP). Nutrition education staff coordinated programming and worked with agency directors to schedule the UC CalFresh MEDC series and EFNEP Eat Smart, Be Active lessons to occur consecutively.

The Payoff

MEDC Interventions in the Butte Cluster Successfully Initiate Positive Behavior Change.

In FFY18, 285 MEDC participants were surveyed in three Butte Cluster Counties (Sutter, Yuba, and Butte). This is 79% more participants than the previous fiscal year. The data show that not only were the number of participants greater, but that the participant outcomes were also positively impacted. All four SMART objectives were met, showing that participants learned how to save money, read food labels, use coupons, and make healthy meals. In addition, the vast majority of participants (93%) felt the MEDC program was well worth their time (marked 4/5 out of 5). There were also statistically significant differences in the before and after mean scores indicating improvements in all 10 retrospective knowledge questions included within the MEDC survey. Importantly, the data from this year’s MEDC intervention also show that participants have committed to the adoption and maintenance of healthy behaviors, which is central to obesity prevention.

Clientele Testimonial

"I plan to apply what I have learned through these workshops in my everyday life. Some of the things I've learned, I have already applied to my life.” -MEDC Participant


Chelsey L. Slattery,Nutrition, Family and Consumer Sciences Advisor cslattery@ucanr.edu; Jona M. Pressman UC CalFresh and EFNEP Program Manager, jmpressman@ucanr.edu; Tracy Yang, Community Education Specialist, tyang@ucanr.edu