Denver is directing about $1 million in federal aid toward emergency food, grocery and meal programs as a direct response to the surge in food insecurity sparked by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Denver Emergency Food Relief Fund, announced Thursday, will provide between $5,000 and $50,000 in individual grants to local nonprofits to distribute food to vulnerable populations, including communities of color and people experiencing homelessness.
A quarter of Denver’s population is experiencing food insecurity, city health officials report. Meanwhile, food pantries are seeing anywhere from double to 10 times normal demand.
“The COVID-19 crisis has exposed the already deep need for access to healthy food in Denver,” Bob McDonald, executive director of the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment, said in a statement. “DDPHE is committed to supporting the basic needs of our vulnerable communities through this rapid response grant fund.”
Organizations working in neighborhoods with higher rates of food insecurity — including Elyria- Swansea, Globeville, East Colfax, West Colfax, Montbello and Sun Valley — will be prioritized.
The relief fund is backed by dollars from the federal CARES Act. The aid will also help expand Denver Public Schools programs for adult meals, as well as breakfasts, lunches and snacks for kids at the city’s recreation centers and parks.
Nonprofits can apply for grants online until 5 p.m. on July 15. Grant awards will be announced before the end of July.