Hunger Free Colorado celebrates its 8-year anniversary

It has been eight years since Hunger Free Colorado began with a box of files, merger documents and the beginnings of a plan. What it lacked in resources, it made up for in champions.

Now, eight years later, our organization has grown in staff and impact, as we continue to fuel change in systems, policies, and social views, so everyone can access the food needed to thrive and reach their full potential.

In recognition of our 8th anniversary, here are eight accomplishments that have moved us closer to a hunger-free Colorado:

  • Our team of staff, board, and volunteers do the daily work needed to remove barriers to access, so families and individuals don’t have to worry about when or where they will get their next meal, which in turn, supports prosperous Colorado communities and local economies.
  • We continue to connect Colorado families and individuals to needed food resources via our statewide hotline and mobile outreach services, which are bilingual and confidential. Community resources range from nutrition programs like food stamps that help people purchase groceries to food pantries that often serve as the emergency first responders when people weather one of life’s storms. Last year alone, our small but mighty team of food assistance navigators helped more than 19,300 Coloradans.
  • More medical providers screen for hunger and refer patients to our statewide food resource hotline and now account for over half of all calls. Over 5,700 patients received a clinical referral last year, so they can access the food and nutrition needed for strong minds and bodies.
  • Our organization played a key role in the successful Colorado Campaign to End Childhood Hunger, a public-private partnership and statewide collaborative effort that aimed to increase Colorado kids’ access to healthy food at home, in school, and in their communities from 2010-2015.
  • We have advocated for the passage of key legislation to improve Coloradans’ access to needed food, such as shortening the food stamp application from 26 to 8 pages; setting up more Colorado students for success with Breakfast After the Bell; and improving food stamp administration, which received unanimous backing during the 2016 state legislative session.
  • We helped launch the Colorado Food Pantry Network in 2015. Now, as facilitators, we support the emergency first responders to hunger in making connections, sharing best practices, and having a stronger, more unified voice around their needs to best serve local communities across the state.
  • Hunger Through My Lens, a Colorado-based photovoice project, launched in 2013 and continues to provide a platform for the real-life experts of hunger to share their stories and experiences. If you have never visited the traveling exhibit or online photo gallery, I strongly encourage you to do so!
  • And, last but not least, all of you. From community organizations, government agencies, and municipalities to educators, businesses, and community members, we work together to devise and employ solutions to ensure no Coloradan goes hungry.

This only touches upon some of the things that Hunger Free Colorado and its many partners have done over the course of eight years. THANK YOU to all who have supported our work to ensure no Coloradan goes hungry!

Though these achievements should be celebrated, there is still much work to be done. It will take the power of community, innovation, and collaboration to create a Colorado where everyone has access to nutritious, affordable food, regardless of race, ethnicity, immigration status, national origin, sexual orientation, age, background, or zip code.

I hope you’ll join us in getting there.

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