This March, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) emergency allotments expired, impacting families who benefited from this additional support during the COVID-19 pandemic. Legislators, community-based organizations, and local communities are considering how to ensure families have the tools needed to maintain food and nutrition security. 

SNAP and Food Assistance Strengthens Families

In Colorado, 1 in 11 residents receive SNAP benefits and 64% of those receiving SNAP are families with children.¹ SNAP and other programs that provide cash benefits and groceries strengthen families by serving as concrete supports in times of need, a research-informed protective factor in preventing child maltreatment.² Continuous food insecurity can result in chronic stress for parents, caregivers, and their children. Children experiencing food insecurity encounter impacts on psychosocial development, behavior, and school outcomes. In addition, food insecurity impacts parental wellbeing by increasing rates of stress, anxiety, and depression.³

When families have access to concrete food and nutrition support, the whole family experiences better emotional and physical wellbeing. Many communities and changemakers are considering avenues to enhance food security for families who are impacted by the expiration of SNAP COVID-19 emergency allotments.

Expanding Access to Food and Nutrition Support through SB23-027

This legislative session, Illuminate appreciates Hunger Free Colorado’s leadership on SB23-027 and is excited to support this bill, which would devote $3,000,000 annually to the Food Pantry Assistance Grant Program. This crucial program provides grants to food pantries across the state to purchase food and distribute it to people experiencing food insecurity. Through a Farm to Food Pantry model, this program seeks to put money back into the Colorado economy, while providing families with fresh, locally grown food.⁴ 

SB23-027 would strengthen families, organizations, and communities by ensuring food pantries have the financial resources needed to provide families with concrete food and nutrition support, reducing chronic stress, enhancing family wellbeing, and preventing child maltreatment. This bill passed through the Senate Committee on Health & Human Services and is waiting to be heard in Appropriations. As this bill moves to the House, Illuminate Colorado will submit testimony to share why SB23-027 continues to build a foundation for strong families and communities.

Identifying Additional Strategies for Promoting Financial Wellbeing and Food Security

The Colorado Partnership for Thriving Families (CPTF) works collaboratively across Colorado to create the conditions for strong families and communities where children are healthy, valued and thriving. 

CPTF hosts a Family Financial Well-Being Work Group, which has been engaging in community conversations to learn from Colorado families about financial wellbeing, identify existing efforts that positively impact families, and identify future efforts to impact family financial wellbeing. Through this process of information gathering and planning, the Work Group will identify potential intersections of financial well-being and food security, and how additional state and local efforts can strengthen families. 

For more information on participating in the Colorado Partnership for Thriving Families Coalition and the Family Financial Well-being Work Group, contact Hattie Landry at hlandry@illuminatecolorado.org.

Stay up to date!

Use the Illuminate Colorado Bill Tracker to stay up to date on the progression of bills that we are tracking this session.

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Stay up to date on policy that prevents child maltreatment and the 2023 Illuminating Policy efforts by subscribing to Illuminate’s blog

Get Food and Nutrition Resources

Has your family been affected by reduced SNAP allotments? Visit Hunger Free Colorado’s Food Finder page to get local resources!

Do you receive SNAP?

Login to your Colorado PEAK account to view your redetermination date and complete needed steps to avoid gaps in coverage.

Citations
  1. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. (2023). Colorado Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Retrieved From: https://www.cbpp.org/sites/default/files/atoms/files/snap_factsheet_colorado.pdf
  2. Center for the Study of Social Policy. (n.d.) About Strengthening Families and the protective factors framework. Retrieved From: https://cssp.org/our-work/projects/protective-factors-framework/
  3. Gallegos, D., Eivers, A., Sondergeld, P., & Pattinson, C. (2021). Food Insecurity and Child Development: A State-of-the-Art Review. International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(17), 8990. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18178990
  4. Hunger Free Colorado. (n.d.). Colorado Food Pantry Assistance Grant Program. Retrieved From: https://hungerfreecolorado.org/partner-with-us/initiatives/colorado-food-pantry-assistance-grant-program/

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