Hunger Free Colorado’s 2022 Legislative Preview


Hunger Free Colorado - HOTLINE

Posted on

Feb 09, 2022


Colorado - Southern Colorado

On January 12th, Colorado lawmakers will convene at the state capitol for the start of the 2022 Legislative Session. This will begin the 120-day lawmaking period when state representatives and senators introduce, debate and pass new state laws and a Colorado state budget, called the Long Bill.
During the 2022 Legislative Session, Hunger Free Colorado will advocate for policies that strengthen an equitable food system and ensure all Coloradans can access the nutrition they need in their communities. While we will be supporting our partners as they work on legislation to address Coloradans basic needs and well-being through cash assistance, housing reform, and more, our main focus this session will be on three key anti-hunger policies:

1. Create a Path to Healthy School Meals for All Colorado Children
Children need nutritious food to focus in school, stay healthy and support their well-being. Currently, all schools are temporarily able to provide school meals to any child who needs them as part of COVID-19 federal aid. Colorado should make this temporary option permanent and help thousands of children access the food they need learn, grow and thrive every day at school. Investing in healthy school meals for all is an investment in strengthening communities, reducing administrative costs, eliminating lunch debt, removing shame and stigma from the lunchroom, freeing up resources for schools and staff and supporting student well-being. Want to join us to pass and fund a community-informed policy to create school meals for all children in Colorado public schools?Sign up to join our coalition!

2. Extend the Food Pantry Assistance Grant Program for five years
The Food Pantry Assistance Grant Program has provided a lifeline to food pantries, food banks, and Colorado producers throughout the pandemic. The grants go to direct emergency food providers like food pantries and food banks to allow them to purchase products from local producers. Furthermore, up to 20 percent of the grants can be used by pantries to invest in other needs including fridges and transportation. These funds help pantries provide foods that their communities most want and need but that can be hard for these operations to supply, like fresh produce, dairy, and proteins. Hunger Free Colorado is working with a coalition of food pantries, food banks, growers, and food systems navigators to extend and strengthen this program for another five years. The proposed legislation this session will extend the program for five years using federal and state funds and support local procurement through technical assistance and better aligning grant cycles with the growing season. This will help Colorado community-based organizations to continue their response to the historic hunger crisis caused by COVID-19, while also fostering relationships between food pantries and local agriculture for years to come, fueling health for Colorado families relying on pantries for nutrition, and supporting a more equitable food system. Join the Food Pantry Assistance Grant Legislation coalition and sign onto the bill fact sheet by filling out this form!

3. Sustainably Fund the SNAP Outreach Program in the state budget
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides grocery EBT benefits to low-income households and serves as the first line of defense against hunger for many families facing financial crisis. Colorados SNAP Outreach Program works with more than 50 community-based organizations to connect eligible households to food assistance, provide education and information on SNAP, and assist with enrollment. This is crucial, as about 40 percent of low-income Coloradans do not access the program due to barriers to enrollment that outreach can help mitigate. SNAP outreach also makes good financial sense. What the state invests in SNAP outreach services is matched dollar for dollar by the federal government. SNAP outreach also fuels economic recovery as families connected to SNAP receive federal money for food that they quickly spend in their local communities. By our estimates, in Federal Fiscal Year 2020 every state dollar invested in SNAP outreach brought $14 to Colorado families in the form of federal food benefits to help purchase groceries, with an economic stimulus impact of $21! We must fund SNAP outreach in the state budget at $1.5 million to continue the important support the program provides as COVID-19 continues to disproportionately impact low-income families and communities of color. This increase of $500,000 will maintain current funding levels since the program has experienced a recent loss of private dollars. Complete this form to add your organization as a supporter of the SNAP Outreach funding request!

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Hunger Free Colorado - HOTLINE

Food Resources 1355 S Colorado Blvd #201, Denver, Colorado, 80222

Toll-free, bilingual hotline is a free "one-stop" resource that offers geographically based referrals to both public and private assistance programs throughout the state.Hunger Free Colorado, a statewide nonprofit organization launched in 2009, connects families and individuals to food resources and fuels change in systems, policies and social views, so no Coloradan goes hungry. By leveraging the power of collaboration, innovation and partnership, we eliminate barriers to the access of affordable, nutritious food, so all Coloradans can thrive and reach their full potential