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.
- In 2011, 16% or more than 815,000 Coloradans 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. Between 2002 and 2010, the rate of child poverty increased 86% in the state, according to the Colorado Children’s Campaign.
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.
- Food Research and Action Center (2012), Food Hardship in America 2011. http://frac.org/pdf/food_hardship_2011_report.pdf
- United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service (October 2011), Calculating the SNAP
- Program Access Index: A Step by Step Guide 2010. http://www.fns.usda.gov/ora/menu/Published/snap/FILES/Other/PAI2010.pdf
- United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service (October 2011), Calculating the SNAP Program Access Index: A Step by Step Guide 2010. http://www.fns.usda.gov/ora/menu/Published/snap/FILES/Other/PAI2010.pdf
- Food Research and Action Center (February 2012), Food Hardship in America 2011.
- Calculated based on Food Research and Action Center (February 2012), Food Hardship in America 2011, survey results and U.S. Census Bureau population data.
- United States Census Bureau (2010), American Community Survey 2010.
- United States Census Bureau (2009), American Community Survey (2000-2009).