The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, is a federal nutrition program to provide households with the financial resources to purchase groceries. It is known as the Food Assistance Program in Colorado.
Participating households receive their SNAP benefit allotment on a monthly basis. Benefits are automatically loaded onto a Quest Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card. EBT cards can be used like debit cards at food retailers—such as grocery and convenience stores—along with some farmers markets.
The program is federally funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and administered by each state. In Colorado, program delivery is administered by each county in the state.
Read a short history of SNAP from the USDA Food and Nutrition Service.
Why is SNAP important to Coloradans?
Current economic conditions have resulted in a record number of Colorado families living in poverty, experiencing hunger and seeking public assistance—many for the first time. SNAP provides the first line of defense against hunger in our communities, serving as a safety-net, public health program. It enables eligible households to pay for groceries, literally putting food on the table for more than 46 million Americans.
The USDA’s 2011 Program Access Index reported that only 51% of eligible Coloradans participated in SNAP, meaning thousands of families and individuals were not utilizing the safety net program during a time of need. Colorado’s low participation also has economic implications—federal dollars are not being claimed and utilized to support the state’s economy and help eradicate hunger.
Here are some hunger facts for Colorado:
- More than 815,000 Coloradans have experienced food hardship.
- More than 25% of working families in Colorado do not have enough food to meet their basic needs.
- Colorado has one of the fastest growing rates of childhood poverty in the nation.
What is Hunger Free Colorado doing?
Hunger Free Colorado was launched in 2009 to ensure that every Coloradan has access to adequate, nutritious food. We work to make SNAP more streamlined and accessible through our Hunger Free Hotline, as well as by providing training, tools and support to community partners through our SNAP Outreach initiative.
To learn more about our SNAP-related work and how you can get involved, contact Amanda Garrard, Food Assistance Program Manager, at (303) 228-7959.