$1.7 million grant to fight hunger in Jeffco

County says food insecurity quadrupled during COVID-19

Graciela A. Fischer
Special to Colorado Community Media
Posted 6/10/21

To help those who need a consistent food supply, Jefferson County is planning on giving a $1.7 million grant to help build a resilient food system. Community First Foundation (CFF) and Jefferson …

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$1.7 million grant to fight hunger in Jeffco

County says food insecurity quadrupled during COVID-19

Posted

To help those who need a consistent food supply, Jefferson County is planning on giving a $1.7 million grant to help build a resilient food system.

Community First Foundation (CFF) and Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) are working to help those in Jefferson County with food insecurity. They plan on giving people access to food that is locally produced, nutritious, and meets cultural preferences.

Before the Covid- 19 pandemic, 10% of Jefferson County residents were experiencing food insecurity. Since the pandemic, that number has quadrupled. Now since Covid, 2 out of 5 Colorado residents struggle with food insecurity according to Marybeth Goodwin, the Program Officer at CFF.

“Food is one of our most basic human needs. If we’re hungry it becomes really difficult to do anything else well, whether that is going to school, being a good parent, or showing up for work,” Goodwin said. “When access to food is limited or unreliable, it creates a ripple effect that can span multiple communities, including the places we live and work.”

The funding for this organization has come from projects, service areas, and the strength of alignment with the request for proposals. In addition, JCPH and CFF plan on making 15 to 20 awards in amounts of up to $500,000.

To receive support from Jefferson County, the applicants must be headquartered or have a physical location in Jefferson County. If a resident is not headquartered or does not have a physical location in Jefferson County, they must have a recent and or clear planned commitment to providing services in Jefferson County. This is to ensure that the food goes to Jefferson County residents.

CFF has to look at several factors when deciding the best way to fight food insecurity. One thing they have to keep in mind is asking themselves what the long-term and sustainable solutions look like. This has led the CFF to analyze the entire food system. This means looking at different types of food, such as cultural traditional foods, and how to prepare the food. 

Community help is important in solving an issue such as food insecurity. CFF asks that you share the word, volunteer, or donate food. Giving back to the economy is also important, so doing things such as going to local restaurants or supporting local businesses.

Naturally, a project as big as this one does come with some concern. The biggest concern is trying to understand the long term effects, and Covid-19 has made that a struggle. The food insecurity rates have grown since the pandemic, but now CFF and JCPH have to look at if those numbers will continue to grow or go down now that Covid rates have dropped. 

I think our emergency food support partners are doing incredible work in addressing the current needs of communities. However, I think it’s looking at another level of food insecurity--how do we sustain long-term to ensure communities are well fed? How do we ensure no one is forced to be reliant on a food pantry and has the choice to go to a grocery store and choose what their family wants to eat,” Marissa Silverberg, the Food Systems & Policy Administrator for JCPH, said. “For me, when we start to see choice and dignity in our model — to ensure that communities are given options — that will really be when I see a significant shift.”

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