According to Hunger Free Colorado, nearly 1 in 3 Coloradans struggle to put food on the table due to job loss, health issues, minimum-wage jobs, or misfortune. Food and nutrition are essential to the overall health, well-being, and wholeness of our communities. The partnership between Centura and the National Western is working to bring awareness to available programs and end stigmatization associated with food insecurity and hunger.
As part of our commitment to fight against hunger and improve food security within our vibrant communities, we are highlighting the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, or SNAP formerly referred to as Food Stamps. We think of SNAP as a health program because it helps free up cash for individuals and families so they can purchase other essential goods and services and have access to nutritious meals.
SNAP can be used to purchase groceries, snacks, and seeds or plants that will produce food. The federal program is administered by state agencies and their county offices which process applications and issue the benefits to participants on an electronic benefit card. These cards look and work just like a debit card - ensuring participants’ dignity at checkout.
SNAP benefits are available for households that meet or are below 130% of the poverty level and are most often used by hard-working families, children, seniors, veterans, and those who are disabled. SNAP serves more than 450,000 individuals (about 8% of the population, but only about 79% of those eligible) in Colorado each month and more than 201,000 individuals (about 7% of the population, but only 69% of those eligible) receive SNAP in Kansas. Enrollment rates are especially low among our eligible aging community members (33% in Kansas and 40% in Colorado). For comparison, neighboring New Mexico has a 98% enrollment rate among its eligible population.
Enrolling in SNAP has other benefits, too. Children who receive SNAP benefits are automatically certified for free school meals and the purchasing power of SNAP is amplified for fresh fruits and vegetables through programs like Double Up Food Bucks.
As a part of our shared goal, we want to help you understand that you can help.
What can you do?
- If you want to learn more about the basic rules for the SNAP program, use this toolkit.
- Hunger Free Colorado has excellent resources available including this outreach flyer and this hotline postcard you can distribute.
- Colorado Blueprint to End Hunger has also made a toolkit available here.