The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides leadership on issues related to food and improvements on nutrition and health, as well as promotes economic development and quality of life improvements in rural America.
USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) offers nutrition assistance to millions of eligible, low-income individuals and families and provides economic benefits to communities. SNAP is the largest program in the domestic hunger safety net. The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) works with State agencies, nutrition educators, and neighborhood and faith-based organizations to ensure that those eligible for nutrition assistance can make informed decisions about applying for the program and can access benefits. FNS also works with State partners and the retail community to improve program administration and ensure program integrity.
USDA's Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, known as WIC, safeguards the health of low-income women, infants, and children up to age five who are at nutritional risk by providing nutritious foods to supplement diets, information on healthy eating, and referrals to health care. Fathers can receive WIC services—such as nutrition education, counseling, and referrals—on behalf of their eligible children.
Another USDA nutrition initiative is the Fathers Supporting Breastfeeding initiative, which targets fathers with educational messages about the advantages of breastfeeding and how they play an important supportive role.
USDA’s Rural Development programs also help strengthen families and revitalize rural communities by building or improving housing, neighborhood facilities, and creating employment opportunities for rural residents around the country. One example of this work is facilitating families in a mutual self-help project that has led to single fathers sharing how building their home, and that of their neighbors, fostered a sense of community and responsibility.
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