Sunny Hunt is the new education program assistant for the Oregon State University Extension Service in Clatsop County. She coordinates the Extension Service's Oregon Family Nutrition Program and the Family Strengthening Program started by the Clatsop County Juvenile Department.

Hunt previously was the tobacco specialist and health educator for Clatsop County Health and Human Services.

The family nutrition program provides classes in budgeting, menu planning and comparison-shopping to help families choose nutritious, low-cost foods and better manage their limited resources and achieve self-sufficiency. The program also focuses on safe food handling, such as hand washing and safety storing and preparing foods. Classes are available to groups of which at least half of the participants are eligible for food stamps.

For every $1 invested to improve adult nutrition behaviors, a savings of $3.63 in future health care costs can be expected, according to the extension service.

Hunt's first project will be a "Food, Fun and Reading" program for first-grade students at John Jacob Astor Elementary and Seaside Heights Elementary schools. The children will hear a nutrition themed story and then participate in a cooking project and snack. A packet of nutrition information, resources and suggested activities will be provided to the students' families. Volunteers are needed to help in each classroom. A volunteer training and lunch will be held April 12 in the extension service offices.

Summer Nutrition projects are planned in collaboration with the Clatsop County Health and Human Services' WIC program, food stamps, Oregon Food Bank and

The Family Strengthening Program involves children 10 to 14 and their parents or guardians in activities aimed at opening new avenues of communication and understanding and reinforcing ground rules youth need to follow. The program brings families to a local school one night a week for two hours of discussions, games and focused interaction. Adolescence can be a challenging time for children and their families, and this program helps both children and parents navigate through the transition.

Clatsop County Juvenile Director Georgia Stewart introduced the program locally. Hunt will work with Stewart, Jill River and others who were involved in the program.

For more information or to volunteer, contact Hunt at 325-8573.