Quick links to our recent stories:
Gov. Hickenlooper signs ‘Breakfast After the Bell
Hunger Free Colorado launches a new kind of food truck
Six high schools crowned champions in Colorado School Breakfast Challenge
Powerful documentary about hunger in America released
More than 450 summer food sites across Colorado helping kids access lunch, address child hunger
June 3, 2013
Summer should be a fun and enriching time for all Colorado kids, but for many it represents a time when children are at the greatest risk of experiencing hunger, losing access to school meals. Hunger Free Colorado and many partners will address child hunger through a statewide summer food program. During the summer months, more than 450 sites across the state will provide meals to children between the ages of one and 18 years old at no cost.
The Summer Food Service Program, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, offers “food that’s in when school is out.” The program was established to fill the nutritional gap throughout the summer months and serve as a safeguard for children eligible for free or reduced-price meals during the school year, particularly those in households who may not know when or where they will get their next meal.
Free, nutritious meals are provided to children and teenagers at designated sites across Colorado. Sites include schools, churches, recreation centers and other safe community-based locations, and many provide activities for children as well. There are no income or registration requirements for participation.
The statewide program is supported by the USDA, Hunger Free Colorado, the Colorado No Kid Hungry Campaign, the Colorado Department of Education, and those providing the meals—the sites and sponsors.
Families can find nearby summer food sites and learn more about the program by calling the Hunger Free Hotline at (855) 855-4626, texting “FOOD” to (720) 432-3285 or visiting SummerFoodColorado.org.
May 15, 2013
Gov. John Hickenlooper joined elementary students, school officials and other supporters on May 15 to sign the Breakfast After the Bell Nutrition Program. The new law will require more than 360 Colorado schools to offer breakfast after the first bell to all students, giving more than 80,000 additional children access to a daily breakfast.
In Colorado, one in five children struggle with hunger and, for some, meals served in school may be the only food they regularly eat. The Breakfast After the Bell Nutrition Program addresses child hunger by requiring schools to serve a nutritious breakfast following the first bell, beginning in school year 2014-15, if 80 percent or more of the student body is eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. In the 2015-16 school year, schools with 70 percent or more qualifying students will have to follow suit.
“Breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day,” said Rep. Dominick Moreno, a lead bill sponsor. “By enacting this legislation, we can ensure that more Colorado kids will have access to a healthy breakfast so they can start the school day ready to learn.”
At Rose Hill Elementary in Commerce City, where the signing ceremony took place, nearly 90 percent of the student body is eligible for free and reduced-price lunches. Adams County School District 14 (Adams 14) offers each student breakfast in the classroom at their elementary, middle and high schools. When they provided before-the-bell breakfast, the district only had a 30 percent participation rate in their school breakfast program. Now, more than 87 percent of their students district-wide eat breakfast after the bell.
“If students are hungry, they’re not going to be prepared to learn,” said Cindy Veney, the district’s nutrition services manager who led the implementation of breakfast in the classroom district-wide. “There are varying circumstances why some children go without breakfast before school each day, so why not give them all the opportunity to start their day with a healthy meal and be better prepared to learn?”
The legislation, sponsored by Reps. Dominick Moreno of Commerce City and Tony Exum of Colorado Springs, and Sen. Angela Giron, D-Pueblo, is a cost-effective way to address child hunger in Colorado. Because the federal government will reimburse schools for the cost of the program, Breakfast After the Bell could bring an estimated $22.9 million in additional revenue into the state. The legislation also allows schools to choose how they serve breakfast—whether in the classroom, via grab-and-go breakfast carts or through another serving model.
The bill was supported by the Colorado No Kid Hungry campaign, a statewide, public-private initiative of Hunger Free Colorado, Share Our Strength and the Office of Governor John Hickenlooper. Together, the campaign partners are working to ensure that all children have nutritious food at home, at school and in their communities. The campaign’s comprehensive five-year plan details 10 goals to end child hunger by 2015, with one focused on the statewide expansion of school breakfast.
“Many kids arrive at school with rumbling bellies, and those experiencing hunger are more likely to exhibit behavioral, emotional and academic problems,” said Kathy Underhill, executive director for Hunger Free Colorado, one of the campaign’s lead partners. “With Breakfast After the Bell, we’ll set up more Colorado children for success in the classroom and life.”
Other supporters of the bill included the Colorado Health Foundation, Colorado Children’s Campaign, LiveWell Colorado, Padres y Jóvenes Unidos, Colorado Center on Law & Policy, Colorado Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs and Colorado Education Association.
May 7, 2013
More than 800,000 Coloradans are at risk of hunger, with at least 25 percent of working families going without enough food to meet their basic needs. To help connect families to available food and nutrition resources, Hunger Free Colorado, the state’s leading anti-hunger organization, launched a new kind of food truck today that will visit local neighborhoods throughout the Denver metro area. But this truck won’t serve cupcakes, gourmet sandwiches or street tacos. It’s serving up access to computers and personal support to help local residents apply for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), as well as offering information on nearby food pantries and other nutrition programs.
“SNAP is the first line of defense against hunger, a safety-net for those struggling to get by, yet only 51 percent of eligible Coloradans participate in this vital public health program,” said Kathy Underhill, executive director of Hunger Free Colorado. “Your Neighborhood Food Truck is designed to simplify the SNAP application process and referrals by providing resources and guidance from trained staff and volunteers. It’s a proactive way to reach families and individuals throughout our community who may be experiencing hunger and who are unaware of local assistance options or unable to access services due to limited transportation.”
Hunger Free Colorado kicked off Your Neighborhood Food Truck today at a special event hosted by Denver Health’s Gispon Eastside Family Health Center in Five Points. Supporters of this initiative—including the Denver Office of Economic Development, Share Our Strength, the Colorado Department of Human Services, Denver Human Services, USDA and Denver Health—gathered to unveil the new mobile program and highlight its many benefits for residents of the Mile High City.
“Current economic conditions have resulted in a record number of Colorado families living in poverty,” said Reggie Bicha, executive director for the Colorado Department of Human Services. “A service such as this eliminates barriers for our neighbors who are struggling with hunger—from children to seniors.”
Your Neighborhood Food Truck will visit a variety of sites throughout the city and county of Denver, including health clinics, grocery stores, recreation centers and community events in targeted areas. Hunger Free Colorado will partner with other agencies and organizations that will provide additional educational, screening and interactive opportunities under the truck’s awning as well as on the unit.
“At Share Our Strength, we’re committed to ending childhood hunger by increasing access to programs like SNAP and by teaching families how to cook healthy and affordable meals,” said Summer Gathercole, Colorado Director of Share Our Strength. “We’re grateful that this mobile unit will give more families access to SNAP benefits.”
Hunger Free Colorado has worked on the development of this mobile program for several months and is grateful for funding support received from Share Our Strength and the Office of Economic Development.
“We’re proud to pledge our federal community development dollars toward increasing healthy food access throughout our neighborhoods,” said Paul Washington, executive director of the Denver Office of Economic Development. “Additionally, by boosting SNAP enrollments, we look forward to bringing a significant level of new federal assistance funds to circulate through our local economy.”
To find out if Your Neighborhood Food Truck is scheduled to make a stop in your area, view the mobile program’s calendar online or call the Hunger Free Hotline at (855) 855-4626.
View more photos from the launch or watch the slideshow below.
Colorado Department of Education now accepting applications for 2013 summer food sites and sponsors
April 2, 2013
Summer should be a fun and enriching time for all Colorado kids, but for many it represents a time when children are at the greatest risk of experiencing hunger, losing access to school meals. The Colorado Department of Education, Hunger Free Colorado and hundreds of partners around the state address child hunger during the summer months through a statewide summer food program. Applications are now being accepted for 2013 summer food sites and sponsors, so the program can continue to expand and reach more children in need throughout the state.
The Summer Food Service Program, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, offers “food that’s in when school is out.” The program was established as a safeguard for children eligible for free or reduced-price meals during the school year, particularly those in households that may not when or where they will get their next meal. It fills the nutritional gap, ensuring that children have access to healthy meals throughout the summer. Free, nutritious meals that meet federal nutrition guidelines are provided to children and teenagers, aged 1-18, at designated sites across Colorado.
The Colorado Department of Education will accept applications through April 23 for those interested in serving as a site or sponsor for the 2013 Summer Food Service Program in Colorado. All summer food sites must meet one of the following requirements: be open to all children in the community, operate as a camp or have closed enrollment for a specific group of children. Organizations that can sponsor summer food sites include a public or private nonprofit food authority, residential camp, or college or university participating in the National Youth Sports program; a unit of local, county, municipal, state or federal government; or any other type of a private nonprofit organization.
Site and sponsor applications are available online. For more information, contact Ashley Moen with the Colorado Department of Education, Office of School Nutrition, at email@example.com or (303) 866-6653.
Hunger Free Colorado, the state’s leading anti-hunger organization, works with schools and local governments as well as faith and community-based partners to increase participation in child nutrition programs—like the Summer Food Service Program—to ensure that all children have access to nutritious food year-round. For more on the statewide summer food program, visit SummerFoodColorado.org.
Six Colorado high schools crowned champions in statewide school breakfast during National School Breakfast Week
March 6, 2013
Bringing home “gold” served as a driving force for 24 high schools vying in this year’s Colorado School Breakfast Challenge, called the 2012-13 Breakfast Games. With a goal to improve overall student participation in their breakfast program, each competing school saw an up-tick in participation over the five-month period. Six schools around the state will be recognized as winners of the challenge with an award and cash prize ranging from $2,000 to $4,000 during National School Breakfast Week, March 4-8.
The 2012-13 Breakfast Games, presented by the Colorado No Kid Hungry Campaign, opened in September 2012 and ran through January 2013. The 24 invited high schools competed in three categories, and the top two schools with the highest overall participation rate in each category will be crowned champions at on-site award ceremonies, with two happening on March 7 and 8. One school also received a special recognition prize for a nearly 40 percent percentage-point increase in overall participation.
Read more about the winning schools as well as all participating schools.
“All children in Colorado deserve to have access to a nutritious breakfast so they can be prepared to learn and succeed in school,” said Gov. John Hickenlooper. “This year’s competition shows that schools statewide can make strides in their breakfast program’s participation. We applaud all of the participating schools for being breakfast champions.”
The campaign recognizes all 24 participating high schools in the 2012-13 Breakfast Games for their achievement of increasing their breakfast program’s participation. Thanks to the following organizations for their support during the 2012-13 Breakfast Games: USDA, Cooking Matters Colorado, Western Dairy Association and the Olympic Training Center.
Powerful documentary about hunger in America opens March 1, includes story about fifth-grader from Colorado’s Western Slope
Feb. 11, 2013
Fifty million people in the U.S.—including one in five children—don’t know when or where they will get their next meal. Directors Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush examine this issue through the lens of three individuals who are struggling with food hardship, including fifth-grader Rosie from the Western Slope of Colorado.
A Place at the Table can be seen in theaters nationwide, and it’s playing in Denver at the Mayan Theatre and SIE Film Center. You also can access the film via iTunes and On Demand. Watch the trailer and learn more about the film.
Take your place in the fight to end hunger. We urge you to turn this documentary into conversation—and action—in one (or more) of the following ways.
With the film:
- Take your family, friends and co-workers to see the documentary on opening day. If you have a group of 25 or more, contact A Place At The Table Group Sales to assist you in a group discount and to plan your event. For group sales in Denver, contact this representative via email.
- Gather your family, friends and co-workers to watch A Place at the Table together. Host a screening at your home, office, church or other location by renting the film from iTunes or On Demand. Afterward, have a discussion about hunger in Colorado using the “Take Your Place” discussion guide. If you’re interested in having a Hunger Free Colorado representative participate at your film screening, please contact us to coordinate.
- Host a private screening at a local theatre. Use it as an opportunity to bring attention to the issue in your community and raise money for your organization. In addition to the screening, you can host a panel or Q&A after the documentary’s conclusion. Learn more about the process.
- If you are looking for an opportunity to treat your colleagues or church members to a day or night out, you can give the tickets away or use this special event as a fundraiser. Use the link above to connect with a group sales representative for more information.
Other ways to be a part of the solution:
- Join the Hunger P.O.D. Squad, a new change-making opportunity where individuals engage in the issue and solutions surrounding hunger throughout the year—from attending quarterly learning sessions to sharing information with others about the issue of hunger or taking the SNAP Challenge.
- Sign up for our monthly newsletter and alerts to stay up-to-date on news, stories and opportunities to make a difference in Colorado.
- Talk about it online. Share your thoughts about the film, hunger in Colorado and the rest of the U.S., and encourage others to see it on Facebook, Twitter, your blog and elsewhere.
- View stories from the SNAP Alumni project, hosted by Participant Media. It champions successful Americans—citizens who once received food stamps and are now leaders in the arts, government, business, sports and education—including Kelly Brough, the Denver Chamber of Commerce’s CEO. Read their stories; tell yours.
- Text FOOD to 77177 to join the fight to end hunger in America or learn more at TakePart.com.
We hope this powerful documentary moves you to take action and be a part of the solution to end hunger in Colorado and throughout America.
Mayor Hancock and partners kick off after-school snacks and supper program
Feb. 4, 2013
Mayor Michael B. Hancock, Hunger Free Colorado and other local sponsors kicked off an after-school snacks and supper program, a collaborative effort to provide free, healthy snacks and meals to the 45,000 eligible children in Denver.
“No child should ever go to bed hungry, which is why the city is diligently working with our partners to provide free, nutritious food at numerous sites across Denver,” Mayor Hancock said. “Each site also offers unique programming ranging from recreational sports to homework assistance, giving our city’s children a safe, fun place to go after school.”
This year, the after-school snacks and supper program is being implemented through a partnership between the City and County of Denver, Denver Public Schools, Food Bank of the Rockies and Hunger Free Colorado. The program is available to children under the age of 18 and located at various Denver recreation centers, schools, churches and non-profits until the end of the school year. Families can call (855) 855-4626 to find a participating site.
“From morning till night, DPS is working around the clock to provide healthy, fresh food that gives our students the energy they need to be active and engaged in learning,” said Theresa Hafner, DPS Food Service Executive Director. “If a student is hungry, we know this has serious consequences on their academic success and overall health. We are grateful to have the city and other local partners help us keep our children thriving and healthy.”
The after-school snacks and supper program is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and implemented through local sponsors. The program is currently operating in 68 sites across the city at various Denver Parks and Recreation Centers, schools, churches and non-profits. There are no income requirements to participate in the program. Revolution Foods, the city’s vending partner, will provide meals to 22 of the after-school snacks and supper sites throughout Denver.
Learn more about after-school nutrition and Hunger Free Colorado’s involvement.
Awarded $10,000 philanthropy award, one of three finalists nationwide
Hunger Free Colorado was selected as one of three finalists nationwide for Bank of the West’s Innovation in Philanthropy Award. Each finalist competed for the $50,000 award grant, with votes from supporters like you.
The laureate was revealed Tuesday night at an awards celebration in San Francisco, and while Hunger Free Colorado did not win the top prize, we will still received a $10,000 grant to help end hunger in our state.
Thank you to all who voted as well as to Bank of the West for recognizing nonprofit organizations that are finding innovative solutions for solvable problems in their communities.