Hunger Free Golden requests $100,000 for 2023 work

Collaborative seeks funds from new marijuana excise tax

Corinne Westeman
cwesteman@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 11/7/22

Hunger Free Golden has asked Golden for $100,000 from the city's new marijuana excise tax fund to continue increasing food access and education across the community.

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Hunger Free Golden requests $100,000 for 2023 work

Collaborative seeks funds from new marijuana excise tax

Posted

Hunger Free Golden has asked Golden for $100,000 from the city's new marijuana excise tax fund to continue increasing food access and education across the community.

The collaborative, which was established in 2014 and is comprised of several local nonprofits and government members, works to ensure that Golden community members have equitable access to fresh, healthy and culturally relevant food.

On Nov. 1, shortly after the City Council proclaimed Nov. 12-20 Hunger and Homelessness Awareness and Action Week, HFG provided its first annual update since Feb. 2020.

The councilors thanked Hunger Free Golden members for their important work throughout the community to fight food insecurity. City Council is still finalizing its 2023 budget items, which will be discussed at its Nov. 15 and Dec. 6 meetings.

Over the past two-and-a-half years, Hunger Free Golden has worked exhaustively to ensure food access amid the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, Chair Bethany Thomas explained.

In 2020, the Grab & Go program alone provided 40,500 meals and involved 13 local restaurants, which helped them keep their employees on payroll during shutdowns. HFG members also organized food drives, connected residents with food resources like WIC and SNAP, and more.

2021 was another busy year for the collaborative, Thomas detailed, as all the local food pantries were using the Link2Feed software. This allows HFG to better track the number of visits, the amount of food distributed, and where customers live in and around Golden.

“It allows us to get a better picture of what’s going on in the community with food insecurity,” Thomas continued, adding that local pantries served 736 unique households in 2021, mostly from 80401 and 80403 zip codes.

Also in 2021, HFG successfully implemented the city’s food pantry assistance grant, which helped develop relationships between local producers and pantries. More than $15,000 of meat products from local farms were distributed locally thanks to the grant, Thomas said.

Hunger Free Golden was also one of the few recipients to receive a 2021 Jeffco grant for $30,600.

“I can’t emphasize enough,” Hallie Nelson, director of Jefferson County Food Policy Council, told the City Councilors, “how much our (Golden) community is seen as a leader across the county and state.”

For 2022, Thomas and Nelson said HFG’s work has included moving from an emergency response to a greater systemic impact, implementing its various grants, improving communications and reducing duplication.

It’s also been expanding its food education resources in 2022 and wants to continue this in 2023, which part of the $100,000 budget request will go toward, Thomas stated. The goal is to improve nutrition and decrease waste by educating people on how to store and prepare food properly, Thomas and Nelson described.

Of the $100,000, Thomas requested $45,000 as the 2023 Golden Food Pantry Assistance Grant. This will further facilitate market channels between local producers and pantries, purchase more food, and respond to an increase in need HFG has seen since 2020.

The remaining $55,000 will go toward the Golden Mobile Market, pantries’ infrastructure and operations, food education efforts, and community engagement.

To that end, Thomas announced HFG is hosting a community conversation Jan. 26 at the community center. She invited the City Councilors and community members to attend, especially anyone who’s experienced food insecurity.

Long-term, the collaborative wants to form a community advisory council to work closely with Hunger Free Golden members to update its strategic plan and roadmap for 2030.

For more information on Hunger Free Golden and its resources, visit hungerfreegolden.org.

hunger, free, golden, city, 2023, budget, request

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