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Denver families facing food insecurity due to COVID-19, inflation will receive grocery store gift cards

Up to 4,000 Denverites will receive $2,000 worth of grocery gift cards
New Program Connects Neighbors To Coordinate Grocery Store Runs
Posted at 4:04 PM, Sep 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-13 18:04:48-04

DENVER – Families unable to afford food either as a result of the coronavirus pandemic or because of inflation will get some relief from the city in the form of grocery store gift cards, city officials announced Tuesday.

The relief is part of Mayor Michael Hancock’s plan to invest $2 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds into the city’s Basic Income Project, first announced during his last State of the City address in July.

City officials said $1 million in interest from ARPA funds will be used for this program, which will also support food box distribution events for those in “high need” areas. Up to 4,000 Denverites will benefit, they said in a news release Tuesday.

“Rising costs for everything from groceries to gas are straining family budgets everywhere. Inflation is impacting all of us,” Mayor Michael Hancock said in a prepared statement. “This is a little bit of relief for those families who need it the most, and we will continue to look at different ways we can help lower costs for our residents.”

The grocery gift cards will be supplied by the city’s Agency for Human Rights and Community Partnerships (HRCP), Denver Human Services, Denver Department of Public Health and Environment (DDPHE), Denver Office of Economic Development and Opportunity, and Office of Children’s Affairs to local community nonprofit partners for distribution to residents who use their services based on referrals, city officials said.

Residents must be under 200% the federal poverty level to be eligible for this program and will have to apply for the grocery gift cards, which should be available by the last week of September. Only one grocery gift card will be available per household. A limited number of grocery gift cards will be available at all three Denver Human Services locations on a first come, first serve basis.

Additionally, 8,000 food boxes will be distributed at three events during the month of October, officials said. Details on the food distribution program were still being finalized as of the writing of this article but should be announced in the coming weeks.

A city spokesperson said officials are also exploring more ways to promote existing programs, such as rent and utility assistance, eviction assistance and property tax rebates.