Changes in the administrative structure at Michigan State University Extension came along at about the same time major changes in the economy were taking place around the United States \u2014 or maybe as a result of those fiscal failings. Extension teams were shifted, moved, tightened up, reviewed, made over, and morphed in attempts to make the organization more streamlined\u00a0 in response to continuing fiscal belt-tightening. Work that was once carried out in individual counties is now being handled by district teams. And outreach programs have needed to be adapted to new realities. But the MSUE mission remains the same, and representative teams are working that much harder to make sure those most in need of services continue to benefit from programs and projects. Mecosta and Osceola Extension offices have been \u201cabsorbed\u201d into a larger district also including the counties of Clare, Gladwin, Isabella, Missaukee and Wexford. The administrative grouping is called District 6 on the extended MSUE map. One program that continues within this expanded Extension format, but with a continuing local emphasis is the USDA\u2019s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education outreach. SNAP-Ed is formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, and the educational side of this wide-ranging project falls under the control of MSUE around the state. Locally, SNAP is touching the lives of a growing number of people \u2014 driven in large part by continuing economic hardships facing families throughout a district which includes some of the most poverty stricken communities in Michigan. Nearly one in seven people around the nation receive some form of food assistance from the government. In many of the District 6 counties that number is closer to 1-in-5, and in at least one county in District 6, (Isabella), the number of people participating in some form of food supplement assistance program reaches 1-in-4. Shannon Lindquist, formerly the health and nutrition educator for Osceola and Mecosta counties, now watches over the District 6 program, and is proud of the work her team are doing to improve the quality of life for those needing a little hand up - not just a hand out. \u201cWe are being kept quite busy with the SNAP-Ed program, but we still are not reaching everyone we should,\u201d said Lindquist. \u201cWe have a case load \u201cexpectation\u201d as determined by the USDA. We are not yet addressing the needs of that number of people. \u201cThis is a problem. \u201cWe know there is a need, but the people this program is aimed at don\u2019t fully know what is available to them.\u201d Lindquist noted she and her team are working closely with the Department of Human Services to better inform members of the SNAP-Ed \u2018target\u2019 group that there is help and assistance when needed. \u201cWe depend a lot on the families with whom we are working spreading the word,\u201d continued Lindquist. \u201cWord-of-mouth is a powerful advertising tool.\u201d The programs offered through SNAP-Ed are age appropriate. These programs can range from actual food supplement distribution, to young child nutrition education, cooking classes, elder nutrition discussions, seminars on effective food purchasing plans, classes on household nutrition and finance management, and much more. \u201cWe go into pre-schools and elementary school to offer kids nutritional information they can understand and in a why they will enjoy and remember,\u201d noted Lindquist. \u201cWe have a new curriculum called \u201cShow Me Nutrition\u201d that reaches kids from pre-school through eighth grade that gets a lot of important information out to young people at a formative stage in their lives. \u201cThrough SNAP-Ed, we can program with any age group.\u201d MSUE also hosts continuing classes for adults in cooking and managing nutritional needs. \u201cAbout 20 percent of the people we reach are in one-time programs,\u201d Lindquist pointed out. \u201cWe get a lot of information out that way. We also have programs that involve multiple classes or return visits. \u201cThe important thing is to get information on not only eating well, but also in dealing most efficiently with he resources available \u2014 both financial and nutritional. \u201cThere is a lot of need out there. People are going through some tough times. \u201cThey sometimes need to rethink how they handle the basics \u2014 buying and making the most effective use of foodstuffs.\u201d Lindquist feels that despite the changes in the local MSUE administrative structure, her team will be able to meet goals set and, more important, create a sustainable outreach. \u201cAt the end of the day, we are here to help people,\u201d she said. \u201cFolks need to understand that they don\u2019t need to be referred to us by any agency. If they meet the criteria, we have something that can help them create a better nutritional program in the home. \u201cWe would like to see more elder residents from our area contacting us and taking advantage of what we have to offer. \u201cWe have ideas, projects, and programs that can help people better live within the budget they have, and for older folks that can be very, very important.\u201d Anyone with questions on SNAP-Ed program offerings can contact\u00a0 Lindquist or members of the team, (Effie Jack in Mecosta County and Renee Bisel in Osceola County), at 592-0792 in Big Rapids, or 832-6139 in Reed City.