Assessing the Impact of SNAP in Maine

Our health analysts assessed the impact of “Pick a Better Snack,” a nutrition education program in Maine.

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Altarum works with the state of Maine to evaluate and optimize their SNAP-Ed program, the nutrition education component of SNAP, which is the largest hunger safety net program in the United States.

Our Approach

As part of a multiyear assessment, Altarum evaluated Maine SNAP-Ed’s Pick a Better Snack program, a school-based nutrition intervention. We conducted an evaluation of 222 families using pre- and post-surveys to compare changes over time in fruit and vegetable consumption among students receiving the program and parents who received take-home materials.

Altarum also conducted a randomized telephone survey of 600 SNAP-recipients to evaluate Maine SNAP-Ed’s ability to reach low-income audiences with targeted messages promoting healthy eating


Altarum’s evaluation of the Pick a Better Snack program revealed positive dietary changes in both students and parents after the completion of the program, and helped make the case to continue the program. Additionally, we demonstrated that targeted nutrition messages are effective in reaching low-income communities. Our work in Maine has led to similar assessments in other states implementing SNAP-Ed.

Assessing the Impact of SNAP in Maine Contact

Contact Us

Karah Mantinan

Karah Mantinan  - MPH, RD

Program Director, Food and Nutrition

Areas of Expertise
  • Food and Nutrition Programs
  • Mixed-Methods Evaluation Study Design and Implementation
  • Environmental Assessments and Literature Reviews

Karah oversees a portfolio of evaluation, training, and technical assistance initiatives designed to increase access to healthy food and opportunities for physical activity. She has over 15 years of experience designing and leading mixed-methods evaluation studies, developing resources to support and improve project implementation, and effectively communicating results to stakeholders in ways that are meaningful and actionable. Karah is passionate about using data to inform decision-making and improve health equity, outcomes, and efficiency. She has a master of public health degree in nutrition from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a bachelor of science degree in nutritional sciences from Michigan State University, and is a registered dietitian.

Brenda Wolford

Brenda Wolford  - MS, RD

Senior Associate, Community Health

Areas of Expertise
  • Food and Nutrition Assistance Programs
  • Mixed Methods Program Evaluation
  • Nutrition and Physical Activity Evidence-Based Programming

Brenda is a senior associate in Altarum’s community health practice area. She has worked on SNAP-Ed evaluations since 2013, leading evaluation activities and providing technical assistance to 13 different states. Brenda provides management, research, and technical support to several projects, including lead roles in planning, conducting, and analyzing SNAP-Ed social marketing evaluations and policy, systems, and environmental (PSE) change strategies. Brenda has worked on SNAP-Ed evaluation and technical assistance projects in the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Tennessee. Prior to joining Altarum, Brenda was the nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor for the University of California Cooperative Extension, Los Angeles County, where she directed SNAP-Ed and the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP). Brenda is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in food policy and applied nutrition.