Colorado recieves a grant for pediatricians

Bread on a tray in a lunchroom at Independence Academy
Bread on a tray in a lunchroom at Independence Academy(KKCO/KJCT)
Published: Nov. 17, 2022 at 10:17 PM MST
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) - No Kid Hungry, in partnership with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), recently granted $20,000 to the Colorado chapter of American Academy of Pediatrics.

These grant funds will allow the Colorado chapter of AAP to improve food insecurity screenings and connect families to federally funded programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and other resources. According to No Kid Hungry, during the first five years of a child’s life, they and their families visit pediatricians up to twenty times so that pediatricians can play a crucial role in the fight against food insecurity.

“We know that well-nourished kids are better able to learn, thrive, and grow into their full potential. Addressing food insecurity in the early years is critical, and the role pediatricians can play in doing so cannot be understated,” said Caron Gremont, Director of No Kid Hungry. “This collaboration between No Kid Hungry, AAP, and grantee AAP chapters will help further their crucial work and connect more families with the tools they need.”

This work alone, however, won’t end food insecurity. Another incredible tool to combat childhood food insecurity is school meals, and the newly passed Proposition FF, which appeared on the midterm ballots, looks to do just that.

Proposition FF is state funded to help schools receive lunches for kids for free. “Coloradans are not paying for all kids for every kid to get a free meal. It’s a gap funding bill,” said Dan Sharp, Director of Nutrition Services for District 51 (D51). He also mentions that one out of four pack their lunch, and two out of four will receive federal reimbursement for any money spent on lunches. The remainder, one of four, will be covered by Proposition FF. Before COVID, Mesa County fed about 45% of kids using funds provided by the state, but it was not accessible to all kids. When the pandemic hit in 2020, and Mesa County was able to feed all kids, that number jumped to 63%. Sharp states that when the proposition becomes effective next year, it will only be used by some.

Schools using the National School Lunch Program can request funding through proposition FF. The Colorado Department of Education continues to determine if there will be a school registration deadline. Proposition FF becomes effective in 2023 and will continue for as long as it can before there are changes that could put an expiration date on it.