Colorado food assistance program receives grant from USDA

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DENVER (June 13, 2022) — The Colorado Department of Human Services' Food Distribution Programs have received $844,261 in grant money from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service to improve The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). The money will boost TEFAP's reach into remote, rural, tribal and low-income areas that are underserved by the program.

Colorado will partner with the Food Bank of the Rockies and Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado to expand TEFAP’s reach into nine Colorado counties that have been identified by the state agency as being underserved by TEFAP. These include Alamosa, Arapahoe, Elbert, Hinsdale, Moffat, Montezuma, Otero, Park and Teller counties.

“Care and Share Food Bank is grateful to be a part of this grant,” said Lynne Telford, CEO of Care and Share. “Through a targeted approach, this funding will allow us to reach further into some of our rural Southern Colorado communities, and as a result, we’ll be able to better serve our neighbors facing hunger through the TEFAP program.”

“This support will enable us to expand our reach within rural areas to ensure we are showing up for all communities equitably by ascertaining community needs and collaborating with local partners,” said Cindy Mitchell, vice president of programs for Food Bank of the Rockies. "It takes a community coming together to ensure we can end hunger, and this funding will help us nourish more communities.” 

Colorado plans to conduct needs assessments and community asset mapping in each county to further the state’s understanding of unmet needs and strengths. Depending on the findings of these assessments, new distribution sites will be added, existing sites will be bolstered, and/or mobile pantries will be established using the funds. In addition, some pre-identified needs in each county will be addressed with project funds.

“We are grateful for the grant and are very excited about the capacity building we will be able to do in counties to ensure that all our neighbors have the nutrition they need,” said Kathy Underhill, Colorado’s Food Distribution Programs manager. 

TEFAP is a federal program that helps supplement the diets of low-income Americans by providing them with emergency food assistance at no cost. Through TEFAP, USDA purchases a variety of nutritious, high-quality, American-grown foods and makes those foods available to state agencies. States provide the food to local emergency food providers that they have selected, usually food banks, which in turn distribute the food to local organizations, such as soup kitchens and food pantries that directly serve the public. These local organizations then distribute the USDA foods to eligible recipients for household consumption or use them to prepare and serve meals in a congregate setting.

In total, the USDA awarded more than $39 million in grants to 38 different state agencies as part of the Reach and Resiliency Project. Grant funding was provided through the American Rescue Plan Act as part of the USDA’s Build Back Better initiative.


The Colorado Department of Human Services' Food Distribution Programs (FDP) provide U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) foods to households, food banks, schools and child care facilities throughout Colorado. USDA foods are a nutritious form of food assistance that includes meats, fish, poultry, grains, dairy, fruits, vegetables and beans. The FDP relies on a partnership of the entire community, including the food and dairy industry, federal and state governments, and local agencies, for the ongoing success to meet the demands of our clients.

Media contact:
Madlynn Ruble
Deputy Director of Communications