USDA uses Spanish soap operas to push food stamps among non-citizens, citizens <AUDIO>
The government has been targeting Spanish speakers with radio “novelas” promoting food stamp usage as part of a stated mission to increase participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps.
Each novela, comprising a 10-part series called “PARQUE ALEGRIA,” or “HAPPINESS PARK,” presents a semi-dramatic scenario involving characters convincing others to get on food stamps, or explaining how much healthier it is to be on food stamps.
The majority of the episodes end with the announcer encouraging the listener to tune in again to see if the skeptic applies for benefits or learns to understand the importance of food stamps to their health.
“Will Claudia convince Ramon to apply for SNAP?” the announcer exclaims at the end of a standard episode titled “The Poet,” “Don’t miss our next episode of ‘HAPPINESS PARK.’”
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While the United States Department of Agriculture encourages its outreach partners not to stereotype SNAP applicants, the agency’s use of novelas is notable. The USDA is not promoting an equivalent English-language drama series and telenovelas are a popular form of entertainment in Latin American countries and a culturally relevant way to appeal to potential applicants.
Food Stamp Program Outreach Activities
The radio novelas are available on USDA’s website for state and local outreach partners to use as public service announcements.
“Congress allocates funds to USDA with the mandate to conduct public education about the benefits of SNAP and how to apply to help reduce hunger in America,” Amanda D. Browne, a USDA spokeswoman explained in an email to The Daily Caller. “The radio spots were written and produced in 2008 and are targeted to communities most at risk for hunger.”(RELATED
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The Mexican government has been working with the United States Department of Agriculture to increase participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps.
USDA has an agreement with Mexico to promote American food assistance programs, including food stamps, among Mexican Americans, Mexican nationals and migrant communities in America.
“USDA and the government of Mexico have entered into a partnership to help educate eligible Mexican nationals living in the United States about available nutrition assistance,” the USDA explains in a brief paragraph on their “Reaching Low-Income Hispanics With Nutrition Assistance” web page. “Mexico will help disseminate this information through its embassy and network of approximately 50 consular offices.”