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Dry goods and canned food sit on the shelves at the Church in the Wildwood in Green Mountain Falls on Dec. 4, 2020. The church has an extensive pantry, which includes food and toiletry or personal care products and is open to all members of the public. (Forrest Czarnecki/The Gazette)

Applications for $2.7 million in funding from the Denver Emergency Food Relief Fund opened Tuesday to nonprofits in the city, the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment announced.

The grants are available to Denver-based nonprofits that provide meals and groceries to residents facing food insecurity as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the pandemic, food insecurity has surged in Denver, affecting 11% to approximately 33% of the population, the department said. 

“We are committed to serving under-resourced communities and Denver residents affected by the COVID-19 virus,” said Bob McDonald, department executive director. “We are excited to make more funding available and for ongoing opportunities to collaborate with nonprofit organizations.”

McDonald said local food pantries and emergency food providers have seen the number of people using their service skyrocket since the start of the pandemic, with some doubling and other increasing by 10 times.

The Denver Emergency Food Relief Fund was established in 2020 with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. So far, the fund has awarded just less than $3 million to community nonprofits and provided 2 million meals for residents.

This round of grants will prioritize nonprofits in neighborhoods with higher rates of food insecurity, including Elyria-Swansea, Globeville, Northeast Park Hill, East Colfax, West Colfax, Montbello, Sun Valley, Valverde, Villa Park, Westwood, College View South, Lincoln Park, Barnum, Athmar Park and Goldsmith.

The grants will also prioritize nonprofits that serve vulnerable, under-resources and historically marginalized groups, like people of color, people experiencing poverty or homelessness, immigrants, refugees, people in the LBGTQ community and veterans.

Applications for the grants opened Tuesday and will close on Sept. 28.

More information and application instructions are available at bit.ly/DenverEmergencyFoodReliefFund.

Questions should be directed to FoodAccess@Denvergov.org or 720-865-5511.

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