Common Threads to Expand Nutrition Programming in New York City with USDA SNAP-ED Grant

By Common Threads | Oct 16, 2019

New York | October 25, 2019 – Common Threads, a nonprofit organization that provides hands-on cooking and nutrition education to children, parents, and teachers in under-resourced communities, announces a five-year expansion within Kings and Richmond counties focused on improving wellness for children and addressing food insecurity through a series of nutrition evaluation programs. The nonprofit was recently awarded a $4 million United States Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Services SNAP-Ed Program grant to expand its programming in New York City through 2024.

The SNAP-Ed grant allows for a variety of programs intended for children, educators, and parents from Richmond and Kings counties, including Small Bites nutrition education lessons, grocery store tours, parent workshops, healthy teacher training, and a variety of community events.

“We are thrilled to deepen our impact in the Brooklyn and Staten Island areas with support from the SNAP-Ed grant,” said Common Threads founding Chief Executive Officer Linda Novick O’Keefe. “Common Threads first expanded to New York in 2014, and we have seen the community embrace our programming because it not only helps improve healthy behaviors, but it also addresses the food insecurity that so many of our families face. We are focused on helping children and families make healthy, affordable nutrition choices every day.”

The majority of Common Threads New York area programming is in partnership with the New York Department of Education (DOE) through in-school and after-school nutrition instruction. In collaboration with the DOE’s Division of Multilingual Learners, Common Threads has included the Small Bites nutrition education series into the Summer in the City program, using the universal language of food and nutrition to teach the English language. The Small Bites curriculum is aligned to New York State Standards and supports instruction in language arts, mathematics, science, and physical education.

Since 2017, the national nonprofit has received SNAP-Ed funding to support nutrition education program expansion in San Antonio, TX, Dallas, TX, El Paso, TX, Houston, TX, Fort Worth, TX, Austin, TX, and Erie, PA.

“Evaluations of Common Threads programming consistently show that the program significantly increases the number of students who answered nutrition knowledge questions correctly, eat a variety of vegetables at least once daily, and who show their families how to cook at home,” said Linda Novick O’Keefe.

During the 2018-2019 academic year, Common Threads reached more than 14,000 students, parents, and educators in New York through 165,357 hours nutrition education programming, providing more than 112,000 healthy snacks. In the 2019-2020 academic year, programming will grow to 30,000 students, parents and educators, 360,672 hours of nutrition education, and more than 240,000 healthy snacks prepared and consumed. All programs are supported by Common Bytes, Common Threads’ digital nutrition education platform available at

Common Threads is a national nonprofit that provides children and families cooking and nutrition education to encourage healthy habits that contribute to wellness. We equip under-resourced communities with information to make affordable, nutritious and appealing food choices wherever they live, work, learn and play. We know that food is rooted in culture and tradition, so we promote diversity in our lessons and recipes, encouraging our participants to celebrate the world around them.

Common Threads was founded in 2003 and is currently operates in 12 major cities including Austin, Texas; Chicago; Dallas-Ft. Worth; El Paso, Texas; Erie, Pa.; Houston; Los Angeles; Miami; New York City; Pittsburgh, Pa.; San Antonio, and Washington D.C. During the 2018-2019 school year and summer, it provided hands-on cooking skills to more than 105,000 students, parents and teachers; worked with over 900 schools and partner sites; and served nearly 750,000 healthy meals and snacks. In total, the organization provided more than 1.1 million hours of cooking & nutrition education.

To learn more, visit

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – Education (SNAP-Ed) is a federally funded grant program that supports evidence-based nutrition education and obesity prevention interventions and projects for persons eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) through complementary direct education, multi-level interventions, and community and public health approaches to improve nutrition. To learn more, visit