Those were just two of the nearly 300 stories shared when Hunger Free Colorado staff members answered the phones during two recent Hunger Free Hotline appearances on 9NEWS. The on-air helpline, done in conjunction with the 9Cares Colorado Cares winter drive, brought attention to the issue of hunger in Colorado as well as the assistance available to support those in need.
Hunger Free Hotline toll-free at (855) 855-4626 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
"The experience served as a reminder of how great the need is-and how our initiatives and our partners' work are making a difference for Coloradans from all walks of life who are experiencing hunger," said Kathy Underhill, executive director for Hunger Free Colorado, the state's leading anti-hunger organization.
The callers shared stories about losing their jobs, being disabled or living on a meager salary. Others talked about their parents, siblings and friends who were struggling to put enough food on their tables; to feed every mouth in their household and stop the rumbling bellies.
The Hunger Free Hotline-a toll-free, multilingual helpline for Coloradans-connects families and individuals with needed food resources in their community. Trained food assistance navigators screen callers for all public nutrition assistance programs and help them locate nearby food pantries, meal sites and other charitable food options from the 1,200 statewide resources in their database. All calls are kept confidential.
Of those eligible, only 48 percent of Colorado households are receiving benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps. That means thousands of working families, children and seniors are struggling without this program's support, unsure when and where they will get their next meal. Hunger Free Colorado and many partnering agencies are working to increase awareness and accessibility to SNAP through the Hunger Free Hotline and other statewide initiatives.
If you or someone you know is in need of food assistance, please call the multilingual Hunger Free Hotline toll-free at (855) 855-4626 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. To learn more about Hunger Free Colorado and how you can be a part of the solution, visit www.hungerfreecolorado.org.
(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)