Hunger Free Colorado works on the federal, state and county levels to streamline business processes and adopt best practices that will help alleviate hunger throughout the state.
Progress Made in Colorado
Improving Food Assistance & Other Programs (2015)
The new state law will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of food stamps across Colorado, which will greatly benefit our local communities and state economy. The bipartisan legislation, Senate Bill 190, was sponsored by the Joint Budget Committee, advanced from the Senate and House with unanimous support. Find out more about what it will do and why it matters, and read the full story behind SB 16-190 on our blog.
Colorado Charitable Crop Donation Act: New State Tax Credit to Boost Fresh-Food Donations (2014)
More Colorado families will gain additional access to healthy, local foods. Gov. John Hickenlooper signed the Colorado Charitable Crop Donation Act on May 30, 2014. The 25-percent tax credit will go into effect January 2015 and be offered to local producers who donate excess foods to Colorado food banks and pantries.
Breakfast After the Bell: Setting Up Students for Success in School (2013)
Hunger Free Colorado served as a lead supporter in a coalition for House Bill 2013-1006, known as the Breakfast After the Bell Nutrition Program, to provide more Colorado children with access to a daily breakfast and the fuel to succeed in the classroom. The bill was sponsored by Reps. Dominick Moreno of Commerce City and Tony Exum of Colorado Springs, and Sen. Angela Giron of Pueblo, and it received bipartisan support under the dome, as well as public support from community members and health, business, community, faith-based and agriculture organizations.
On May 15, 2013, Gov. John Hickenlooper signed the bill into law, requiring schools to serve breakfast after the school day begins, beginning 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.
Removal of the Asset Test (2011)
With the support of many partners, Hunger Free Colorado advocated for the removal of the asset test to increase access and reduce administrative workload by adopting broad-based categorical eligibility for SNAP/food stamps in the state. The elimination means that low-income households with modest savings or other assets can receive much-needed nutrition assistance through SNAP/food stamps.
Shorter Application (2011)
Hunger Free Colorado and partnering organizations advocated for a shortened version of the 26-page SNAP/food stamps application, one of the longest, combined applications in the nation. Questions were eliminated from the written application and added to the interview process, which resulted in a revised, eight-page application during 2011. To further improve the system for enrollment in food, cash and medical assistance programs, the state implemented an online screening process in both English and Spanish called the Colorado Program Eligibility and Application Kit (PEAK). With these changes, more households in Colorado can be screened for SNAP/food stamps eligibility.
Colorado’s First SNAP Outreach Plan (2011)
Expanding outreach is an essential component to enhanced awareness and understanding of SNAP/food stamps among those potentially eligible for benefits. We worked with the state to develop a robust, statewide SNAP outreach plan, with the goal of providing improved public access to eligibility guidelines as well as navigation of the benefits system when working with one of the 64 county offices in Colorado. Hunger Free Colorado was selected as one of three community partners to help implement the plan with the Colorado Department of Human Services.
Read a short history of food stamps from the USDA Food and Nutrition Service.
School Breakfast Funding Restored (2011)
Hunger Free Colorado also advocated for the restoration of a school breakfast subsidy for low-income students in Colorado schools. An amendment for supplemental funding for the Start Smart Nutrition Program was approved in 2011, making breakfast free for children who would otherwise have to pay a reduced price of 30 cents.
Governor Signs Executive Order to End Child Hunger (2011)
In January 2011, John W. Hickenlooper becomes governor of Colorado and continued the office’s support of the Campaign to End Childhood Hunger. A few months later, in September 2011, Gov. Hickenlooper signed an Executive Order, showing his support to end child hunger in the state by 2015. As of today, he is the only governor to do so in the United States.
Other Work to Affect Systems & Policy Changes
Hunger Free Colorado engaged legislators and policymakers at the local, state and federal levels, as well as served on coalitions and committees to create positive change. One such example is the Work Support Strategies committee, a three-year, national initiative that is privately funded and focused on coordinating delivery of services across benefits programs, including food stamps.
Hunger Free Colorado also helped organize a lobby day in Washington, D.C., in February 2011. Fifteen anti-hunger advocates from five organizations gathered to send a message to elected officials that federal nutrition programs are important to the state of Colorado.