DENVER (July 21, 2021) — The Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) has launched a statewide campaign, including public service announcements and outreach materials, to encourage families to fill out school meal applications for the 2021-22 school year.
In 2020-21, Colorado public schools experienced their first decrease in year-to-year enrollment in three decades due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Colorado schools estimated a 3.3% decrease in enrollment this past fall, with the biggest drop in preschoolers and kindergartners.
“Continuing to promote school meals and enrollment alongside P-EBT is an important effort to ensure Colorado families and children can receive nourishing meals at home and school,” said CDHS Food and Energy Assistance Division Director Karla Maraccini.
The public service campaign features messages from Colorado celebrities including former Denver Broncos player Ryan Harris, Denver Nuggets player Michael Porter Jr., CBS TV news anchor Dominic Garcia, music icon Hazel Miller, and 15-year-old singer / songwriter Raquel Garcia. Each Colorado celebrity is featured in a 30-second public service announcement (PSA), all of which are accessible on CDHS’s P-EBT outreach page. All PSAs were recorded in English, with Raquel Garcia recording in both English and Spanish.
The public service campaign is a continuation of the unique spring PSAs released bringing awareness to the P-EBT program benefits for Colorado families. All Colorado celebrities donated their time for the campaign. Creative and media support was provided by various broadcast stations, Comcast, Sander Marketing and advocacy organizations to promote the campaign throughout the state from July 19 to Aug. 15.
Due to USDA waivers, Colorado schools are able to provide free meals to all students if they opt into the Seamless Summer Option for the 2021-22 school year. CDHS hopes to highlight the importance and the benefits of filling out a school meal application for this upcoming school year. In addition to receiving nutritious school meals, families eligible for free or reduced-price school meals can receive discounts, help bring funding to support school programs, and may be eligible for Pandemic-EBT (P-EBT).
For additional information, visit cdhs.colorado.gov/p-ebt.
To view and share the library of PSAs, visit bit.ly/3AEjalJ.
P-EBT was created under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020 (H.R. 6201) as an important opportunity to provide nutritional resources to families who are losing or lost access to free or reduced-price school meals as schools across Colorado closed in response to COVID-19.
The public service campaign, content and talent was created and coordinated by CDHS. More information can be found at cdhs.colorado.gov/p-ebt.
Deputy Director of Communications