Late last week, the Department of Agriculture announced it was removing a set of Spanish-language radio ads from its outreach program. Hope Park, the ten-part serialized radionovela told the story of “Diana.” Diana was initially hesitant to apply for SNAP because she didn’t “need help from anyone . . . My husband makes enough to take care of us,” her friends finally persuade her to apply and she quickly realizes the benefits of the program.
Part of a 2008 advertising campaign to remove the stigma around food stamps and educate possible applicants, the ads were taken down because they “were posted nearly 4 years ago and some of the content in these advertisements does not meet the standards of what I consider to be appropriate outreach,” according to Kevin Concannon, USDA undersecretary for food, nutrition and consumer Services. He said that some of the funds used for advertising SNAP “could be better invested in improving our oversight of this critically important program and that is exactly what I intend to do moving forward.” The USDA has, however, left an alluringly titled Spanish-language telenovela called “La Flor del Sin Nombre” (“The Flower of No Name”) from 2009 on its website.