Partnership Teaches McDowell Families to Shop Smarter and Eat Healthier

Marion, NC  – A collaboration between the NC Cooperative Extension Service and Circle of Parents (COP) in McDowell County has parents learning how to shop smarter and eat healthier through the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education (EFNEP) program.
COP is a weekly program offered by McDowell County Schools at Eastfield Elementary. Funded by Partnership for Children of the Foothills, it provides opportunities for parents to meet and build a network of friends and support.  The parent-led group offers a variety of topics for discussion, of which healthy eating is just one.
“The Governor gave McDowell County a grant to improve nutrition education, and we were excited to be chosen to deliver the class in partnership with the NC Cooperative Extension Service,” said Danielle Roper, Circle of Parents facilitator. “This program covers important aspects of nutrition, from how to maximize the dollars you have on healthier food choices to how to prepare those meals nutritiously.
Another aspect of the program is to encourage the participants to move more, and a physical activity component is integrated into each session.”
During the course of six weeks, participants discover alternatives to fat, carbohydrates, sugars and sodium. Janet Bryan, EFNEP educator and NC Cooperative Extension Service agent, teaches the group tips and tricks like how to make a healthy spinach quiche, create a colorful fruit salad and more.
“It’s a fun and tasty way to learn how to be healthier,” said Powell. “Parents can take their learning and translate it into good and nutritious food for their kids, even on a limited budget.”
To learn more about how to participate in the sessions and/or join the Circle of Parents group, contact Danielle Roper at 828-460-2285 or via email at
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