Anti-hunger coalition in Denver removes Trump letters from federally funded food boxes, claiming it contains info contradicting the CDC

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Posted at 7:17 AM, Oct 29, 2020

DENVER — The Denver Community Food Access Coalition (DCFAC) said it removed a letter from Donald Trump from federally purchased food boxes before giving them out because it contained information that contradicted what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said about COVID-19.

According to a press release from the DCFAC Thursday morning, the letter reinforced public health measures against COVID-19, and encouraged people to "practice social distancing and consider wearing a face covering when in public." On CDC's webpage about protecting yourself and others, they say definitively "Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others."

Below is the letter DCFAC said it removed from the box. The sentence DCFAC disagrees with is underlined.

DCFAC is a coalition of nine organizations — Hunger Free Colorado, Denver Department of Public Health and Environment, Denver Food Rescue, The GrowHaus, Metro Caring, Denver Urban Gardens, Re:Vision, Sprout City Farms, and Montbello Organizing Committee — that works to ensure local families have access to healthy food.

Teva Sinicki, chief executive officer of Metro Caring and DCFAC Member, said the organizations are not "pawns in this election."

"The largest public health and economic crisis Colorado has ever seen is not the time to exploit taxpayers hard-earned dollars and manipulate overworked direct service providers in an attempt to bolster one’s own reelection campaign," Sinicki said.

Christine Alford, executive director of Denver Food Rescue and DCFAC Member, said it's "shameful and degrading" to politicize this lifeline for Colorado families during the pandemic and economic crisis.

DCFAC said one in three Coloradans — roughly 1.8 million people — will receive the government-funded relief packages, which includes fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy, and meat. It's part of the Farmers to Families Food Box Program, a U.S. Department of Agriculture initiative to buy fresh food and get it in the hands of needy families.

But the boxes are not enough, DCFAC said. The group said expanding the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and renewing Pandemic EBT would help those individuals and families more.

Coloradans do not go hungry because of a lack of food in our state," said JoAnna Cintrón, executive director of Re:Vision. "Coloradans go hungry because they don’t have enough money to put food on the table. This means that we need to not only talk about the need for new relief package and improvements to the safety net, but also work together for a living wage, the racial wealth gap, paid family medical leave, and an economy where anyone can provide the basics for themselves and their family.”

The boxes, with letters inside them, were first received in Denver on Sept. 30. The organizations in DCFAC removed the letters before distribution.

As of Thursday morning, Trump and the White House had not responded to DCFAC's actions.