food security

Hunger and desperation for low-income families won't go away when the coronavirus pandemic plays out, according to a plea from 173 Colorado organizations and leaders to the state's congressional delegation.

They want improvements to federal programs such as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the Women, Infants and Children food program and the Emergency Food Assistance Program.

"We need a package that provides for the long-term nutritious food needs for families as they build their lives back after this crisis," the letter states.

The signers asked Congress to increase SNAP benefits by 15% throughout the course of the COVID-19 emergency and raise the minimum benefit from $16 to $30 a month. The state and county agencies that administer the benefits need help with heavier workloads 

The $2.2 trillion stimulus package that passed two weeks ago included $15.5 billion for enrollment growth, the letter states, "but these are short- term fixes to a longterm problem," citing the soaring unemployment rates across the state.

"Even after the public health emergency relaxes, it will take time for both small and large businesses to rebuild and hire back workers," according to the letter that notes, on average, SNAP pays just $1.29 per meal per person, according to the letter.

The Trump administration announced in September that it would tighten requirements for food stamps, which, at the time, was expected to affect about 688,000 Americans. In the letter this week, advocates said the administration had pursued cuts that would cut SNAP benefits for up to 4 million people and reduce them for about 6 to 7 million others.

The Colorado letter asks that any revisions that cause families to lose benefits should be suspended, and online shopping and delivery should be expanded for SNAP cards. 

Besides relief for families, stepping up food assistance also stimulates the local economy, the letter states.

"Research shows that during an economic downturn, each $1 of SNAP benefits leads to between $1.50 and $1.80 in total economic activity in the community," the letter states. "Families will use these resources to buy food, helping our producers, manufacturers, and retailers. SNAP is a common-sense program that helps people to move forward and economies to rebound."

The letter was endorsed by:

  • 4 Corners Farmers and Ranches Coalition
  • Adam Paul, Lakewood mayor
  • Adams County Commissioner Eva Henry
  • AFDC Coalition (All Families Deserve A Chance Coalition)
  • Aging Dynamics
  • Alison Coombs, Aurora City council member Ward 5
  • Allison Hiltz, Aurora City Council at-large
  • Amazing Grace Community Church Pastor’s Pantry
  • American Heart Association
  • Angela Lawson, Aurora City Council at-large
  • Aurora Branch of the NAACP
  • Aurora Health Alliance
  • Benefits in Action
  • Bondadosa
  • Brianna Titone, state representative
  • Brittany Pettersen, state senator
  • Care and Share Colorado
  • Catholic Charities of Central Colorado
  • Cathy Kipp, state representative
  • Center for Health Progress
  • Center for Work Education and Employment
  • Charley Able. Lakewood City Council
  • Children's Farms of America
  • Children's Hospital of Colorado
  • Chris Hansen, state senator
  • Chris Hinds, Denver City Council District 10
  • Chris Kennedy, state representative
  • Chronic Care Collaborative
  • City and County of Denver
  • Clear Creek County Commissioner George Marlin
  • Clear Creek County Commissioner Randall Wheelock
  • Clear Creek County Commissioner Sean Wood
  • Colorado Blueprint to End Hunger
  • Colorado Center on Law and Policy
  • Colorado Children's Campaign
  • Colorado Consumer Health Initiative
  • Colorado Family Resource Center Association
  • Colorado Fiscal Institute
  • Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition
  • Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights
  • Colorado Parent Teacher Association (PTA)
  • Colorado Retail Council
  • Colorado School Nutrition Association
  • Colorado Springs Food Rescue
  • Colorado Working Families Party
  • Colorado-Parent Coalition
  • Community Food Bank of Grand Junction
  • Community Food Share
  • Community Table
  • Counties & Commissioners Acting Together (CCAT)
  • Crystal Murillo, Aurora City Council Ward 1
  • Dafna Michaelson Jenet, state representative
  • Dana Gutwein, Lakewood City Council Ward 5
  • Daneya Esgar, state representative
  • Delta Family Center
  • Denver Food Rescue
  • Denver Housing Authority
  • Denver Inner City Parish
  • Denver Regional Council of Governments
  • Denver Sustainable Food Policy Council
  • Denver Urban Gardens
  • Dominick Moreno, state senator
  • Dominique Jackson, state representative
  • Dr. Yadira Caraveo, state representative
  • Dylan Roberts, state representative
  • Eagle County Board of County Commissioners
  • Early Childhood Network
  • Edgewater Collective
  • Emerald Gardens
  • Emergency Family Assistance Association
  • Emily Sirota, state representative
  • Emma Pinter, Adams County Commission chair
  • Faith Winter, state senator
  • Family & Intercultural Resource Center
  • Family Resource Center Association
  • Family Resource Center of the Roaring Fork Schools
  • Feeding Colorado
  • Flatirons Young Farmers Coalition
  • Food Bank for Larimer County
  • Food Bank of the Rockies
  • FrontLine Farming
  • Garfield County Public Libraries
  • Glenn Levy, Mountain View mayor
  • GoFarm
  • Green Thumb Initiative
  • Healthy Community Food Systems
  • Healthy Food Strategies
  • Herb Atchison, mayor of Westminster
  • Hunger Free Colorado
  • Hunger Free Golden
  • Jacob LaBure, Lakewood City Council Ward 2
  • James Coleman, state representative
  • Jane Goff, Colorado State Board of Education for 7th District
  • Janet Buckner, state representative
  • Jeanne McQueeney, Eagle County Commission
  • Jeffco Parent Teacher Association
  • Jefferson County Board of Commissioners
  • Jefferson County Board of Health
  • Jefferson County Food Policy Council
  • Jessie Danielson, state senator
  • Jewish Family Service of Colorado
  • John Kefalas, Larimer County Commission
  • Juan Marcano, Aurora City Council Ward IV
  • Julie Gonzales, state senator
  • Julie McCluskie, state representative
  • Kathy Chandler-Henry, Eagle County Commissioner
  • Larimer County Farmers Alliance
  • Larry Crowder, state senator
  • Laura Keegan, Edgewater mayor
  • Laura Weinberg, Golden mayor
  • Lisa Cutter, state representative
  • LiveWell Colorado
  • Loveland Rotary KidsPak
  • Manna Soup Kitchen
  • Marc Williams, Arvada mayor
  • Matt Scherr, Eagle County Commission
  • Meals on Wheels Mesa County
  • Metro Caring
  • Metropolitan Community Church of the Rockies, Food Pantry
  • Mike Weissman, state representative
  • Mile High Farmers
  • Monica Duran, Colorado House Representative
  • Montbello Organizing Committee
  • Morgan County Family Center
  • Mountain Family Center
  • Mountain Resource Center
  • Nancy Todd, state senator
  • Nicole Johnston, Aurora City Council Ward 2
  • PASCO (Personal Assistance Services of Colorado)
  • Paul Kashmann, Denver City Council District 6
  • Prairie Family Center
  • Pueblo Food Project
  • Riverside Educational Center
  • Robert Rodriquez, state senator
  • Rocky Mountain Farmers Union
  • Routt County Board of Commissioners
  • SafeHouse Denver
  • San Luis Valley Local Foods Coalition
  • SCL Health
  • SECORCares
  • Senior Assistance Center
  • Servicios de La Raza
  • Shannon Bird, state representative
  • Sharon Vincent, Lakewood City Council 4
  • Shontel Lewis, Regional Transportation District director
  • Silver Key Senior Services
  • Silver Thread Public Health District
  • Sprout City Farms
  • St. Matthew's Episcopal Church Outreach, Grand Junction
  • Steven Woodrow, state representative
  • Support Jeffco Kids
  • Susan Lontine, state representative
  • Taking Neighborhood Health to Heart
  • Tammy Story, Colorado Senator
  • The Center for African American Health
  • The Delores Project
  • The Denver Foundation
  • The Gathering Place
  • The Good Food Collective (SW Colorado)
  • The GrowHaus
  • The Health Partnership
  • The Health Partnership Serving Northwest Colorado
  • Tracy Kraft-Tharp, Colorado House Representative
  • Tri-County Health Department
  • Tri-County Health Network
  • UC Family Medicine Center Food Pantry
  • Under One Roof Foundation
  • Warren Village
  • We Don't Waste
  • Weld Food Bank
  • Western Colorado Alliance
  • Western Colorado Food and Agriculture Council, DBA Valley Food Partnership
  • Westside Cares
  • Women's Lobby of Colorado

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