For Coloradans experiencing hunger, our statewide network of food banks and food pantries provides an access point for emergency food resources. Over the last three years, pantries across the state have been collecting feedback from clients. The surveys have consistently found that there was a mismatch between what foods are available and foods customers want and need to maintain a healthy, balanced diet; specifically PROTEIN, FRESH PRODUCE AND DAIRY.
With that feedback in mind, The Food Pantry Assistance Grant is a product of Hunger Free Colorado’s efforts to increase access to healthy foods for all Coloradans. During the 2018 Legislative Session, Hunger Free Colorado worked with the Joint Budget Committee to secure funding in the state budget to be used for the purchase of Colorado Proud products. Because of the benefit to not only visitors of food pantries and banks, but also farmers and Colorado’s local economy, the funding was strongly supported. Onward! is honored to have been chosen as the fiscal agent for the Food Pantry Assistance Grant. We are grateful to Hunger Free Colorado, the Colorado Department of Human Services, and our state’s elected officials for the work being done to address hunger in Colorado.
At the 2019 Legislative Session, the Joint Budget committee allocated dollars to the Food Pantry Assistance Grant again. However, funding for the 2019-2020 budget year was greatly reduced so the amounts awarded will be reduced this fiscal year. As we continue to show great need, Hunger Free Colorado and the Food Pantry Network will continue to work diligently to increase funding in future years.
To bring this grant benefit full circle, Hunger Free Colorado looked at Colorado's vibrant agricultural sector with a strong system for identifying foods grown, processed, and packaged here in Colorado through the "Colorado Proud" program (run by the Colorado Department of Agriculture). With Colorado farmers, ranchers and food businesses in search of new markets and food pantries and banks in search of high-quality, fresh protein, dairy, and produce for their clients the FOOD PANTRY ASSISTANCE GRANT is a new tool to support producers, consumers, food banks and pantries alike.
Food Pantry Assistance Grants may be used only for the purchase of Colorado Proud products. The Colorado Department of Agriculture runs the Colorado Proud program and has a variety of tools available for identifying sources of Colorado Proud products. Visit their website for more information: CO Dept of Ag Colorado Proud. 10% of the funded amount may be used for indirect costs associated with the purchase of Colorado grown foods including, but not limited to, transportation, refrigeration, and storage.
For this fiscal year, Onward! will not be managing the Food Pantry Assistance Grant. Funding was available from the Department of Human Services.
Food Bank: Food Bank means a charitable organization exempt from federal income taxation under the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code that annually distributes more than ten (10) million pounds of food and non-food essentials to hunger relief programs. (CO Crop Donation Act, HB 14-119)
Food Pantry: A food pantry is an individual site that buys food and/or receives donations of foods that are then directly distributed to those in their community
Colorado Proud: Colorado Proud is a program of the Colorado Department of Agriculture that promotes food and agricultural products that are grown, raised, or processed in Colorado. Manufactured food products must be made in a commercial kitchen in order to qualify. Find more information about Colorado Proud at their website: www.coloradoproud.org. Food banks and food pantries can develop a free online profile at www.comarketmaker.com. The 2018 Colorado Proud directory is available HERE.