School lunch box with healthy food

The Denver Department of Public Health & Environment is seeking grant applicants to help improve children’s access to nutritional foods and food-related skills, such as cooking and gardening.

The Healthy Food for Denver’s Kids (HFDK) program was created through a citizen-led ballot initiative in November 2018 that increased the city’s sales tax by .08% to provide healthier food options for city kids.

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About $11 million in taxes has been raised since 2019 and will soon be dispersed through a competitive process to Denver city agencies and nonprofits whose primary purpose is to provide healthy meals and healthy eating education to Denver’s low-income and at-risk youth.

 “There’s a really strong push to tackle the issues around this to really understand and start to provide solutions on a city-scale around hunger and obesity within our city,” Laine Cidlowski, a food systems administrator at the public health department, told a Denver City Council committee in November.

One in five Denver youths are food insecure, Cidlowski said. One in three city children are obese.

Beginning Thursday, eligible organizations can now apply for the grant. Proposals will be viewed and selected by the HFDK Commission and should “clearly demonstrate an effective, fiscally responsible program” that meets the organization’s goals. Proposals should also contain a community engagement component and “show diversity, equity and inclusion” across all aspects of the program.

Grant proposals must be submitted in 11 p.m. on March 26. Grants will be awarded in the spring.

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