CDHS statement on Tom Clements Award recipients

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DENVER (Feb. 9, 2021) — Michelle Barnes, executive director of the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS), released the following statement on Gov. Jared Polis’ announcement of the Tom Clements Award for Outstanding Service, which was awarded to members of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) team.

“I was thrilled that key members of the SNAP team were selected by Gov. Polis to receive this prestigious award. I couldn’t be more proud of this deserving team that has moved mountains in 2020 to help Colorado families have the food they need to feed their families during this pandemic. In addition to honoring the SNAP team’s achievement, I offer CDHS’s congratulations to all of the winners and honorable mentions of the Tom Clements Awards — you make a difference in the lives of Coloradans.”

SNAP team members Mia Donley, Megan Hrdlicka and Max Young were presented the 2020 Tom Clements Better Government Award on Tuesday. The honorees were recognized in the category of Outstanding Service in Government for their work on the Pandemic-EBT (P-EBT) program, which reimbursed Colorado families who weren't able to receive free or reduced-price lunches when schools were closed last spring because of COVID-19.

Donley, Hrdlicka and Young were nominated by Office of Economic Security Director Ki’i Powell and Food and Energy Assistance Director Karla Maraccini, who wrote that they led the implementation of the P-EBT program, ensuring “hundreds of thousands of Colorado children were food secure during the pandemic.” Powell said the honorees went above and beyond their typical workload for months to get the program up and running.

Because of the implementation of the program, families of 180,026 children were provided with nearly $50 million in replacement meals to support access to nutritious food.

In an effort to support Colorado’s families during the COVID-19 epidemic, the Colorado Department of Human Services worked to secure USDA approval to issue Pandemic-EBT (P-EBT) benefits to school-age children who would have received free or reduced-price meals during the time that schools were closed for the 2019-20 school year. Each household with an eligible child received a Colorado EBT card that provided extra food benefits to create healthy, wholesome meal options for kids.

Additional information about the P-EBT program can be found here.

Media contact:
Madlynn Ruble, Deputy Director of Communications