On Friday, February 27, 2015 Hunger Free Colorado in a partnership with the Governor’s Office, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper and Share Our Strength were very proud to announce there are fewer hungry children in the state due to their ongoing campaign. The Colorado Campaign to End Childhood Hunger began five years ago and has been a statewide effort to eliminate child hunger through public-private partnerships, which are becoming more common, policy changes, increased awareness, and an extension of service and programs.
The program was launched by then Governor Bill Ritter and then championed by Governor Hickenlooper who issued Executive Orders to ensure all of the children in Colorado receive proper nutrition, not only at school but at home. This public-private partnership between these three entities received a great deal of support from many other organizations around Colorado to include; state and private agencies, foundations, municipalities, non-profit, community and faith based organizations, schools and their districts, local business and corporations and an extraordinary amount of community members.
Governor Hickenlooper is noted as making the following comments about the issue and the campaign; “Hunger is an issue that affects our children’s well-being and education, as well as the health of our communities and It’s important that all kids are well-fed and prepared to excel, not only in the classroom but in life. This Campaign brought people together to ensure just that, and with the progress made, more kids will have the necessary nutrition to thrive.”
The Campaign was driven by 10 goals in which many were achieved over and above expectations. Some of these successes are:
There was a 95% increase in the number of summer meals that were provided to Colorado Kids and Teens since 2009 which is approximately 1,499,621 meals.
1,372 schools participated in the 2013-14 school year by providing meals before and after school which amounted to 26,843,074 meals which was a 45% increase.
After school programs provided 604 meals to kids after school which is a 54% increase.
Households eligible for food stamps saw an increase of 54% increase which is about 4 out of every 7 households.
The food stamp application process was streamlined from 26 pages to a mere 8 pages making it more user friendly.
Food was distributed to 5 food banks which is a 49% increase with 20,898,146 pounds of produce.
Cooking Matter Colorado hosted several classes and events about proper nutrition which is a 108% increase.
The 10 goals set for the campaign:
1. Provide children access to healthy meals during the summer
2. Ensure that all children have access to a nutritious breakfast
3. Support families with the ability to purchase and acquire food to prepare at home
4. Ensure the nutrition and health of pregnant and postpartum women, infants and young children
5. Support child care providers’ ability to provide healthy meals and snacks
6. Help after-school programs provide children with good nutrition and healthy snacks
7. Encourage children and families to make healthy food choices through nutrition education
8. Ensure access to high-quality nutritious food in low-income communities and schools
9. Ensure families can access food from food banks and food pantries
10. Improve the economic security of working families
Kathy Underhill, Executive Director for Hunger Free Colorado, the state’s leading anti-hunger organization, made the following comments; “The Colorado Campaign to End Childhood Hunger not only brought much-needed attention to the problem of child hunger in our state, but it showed that, when people work together, great things can be accomplished. We all rallied behind a shared vision, and by collectively implementing viable solutions and removing roadblocks to access, we have created a better future for all Colorado kids.”
Hunger Free Colorado, Share Our Strength and the Governor’s Office would like to express their thanks to the many individuals who helped make this campaign possible ensuring many children had and will continue to have access to proper nutrition.
About Hunger Free Colorado
Hunger Free Colorado brings a unified, statewide voice to the issue and solutions surrounding hunger, with a goal to ensure all Coloradans have access to affordable, nutritious food.
For more information about the Colorado Campaign to End Childhood Hunger and the issues and solutions surrounding hunger click here or visit: www.HungerFreeColorado.org.
About Share Our Strength
Share Our Strength’s “No Kid Hungry campaign” connects kids in need with nutritious food and teaches their families how to cook healthy, affordable meals. The campaign also engages the public to make ending child hunger a national priority.
For more information on Share Our Strength click here or visit: www.nokidhungry.org