Your vote: Are healthy food programs for Denver kids worth $100 million?

Posted at 6:07 PM, Oct 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-16 20:30:06-04

DENVER — In Denver, voters will be asked if they want to spend $100 million in taxes to provide healthy food and education for low-income children.

What kids eat can shape their day, especially at school.

Jeremy Mitchell is a registered dietitian that oversees all 160 of Denver Public Schools, that's 50,000 meals a day.

"They have to have the proper nutrition. If they're fatigued, their grades go down. That's where we come into play, offering them a healthy breakfast every single day at every single school," said Mitchell.

At Lake Middle School, the staff gets creative to entice kids to expand their palate while meeting federal requirements.

"Whether that be the vegetarian chili that we have on the menu or maybe the hummus bowl on the menu, we keep offering it. The more often they see it, the more likely they are to coming around," said Mitchell.

One group thinks there's room for improvement. The citizen-led group behind ordinance 302 on the November ballot said nearly one out four Denver kids don’t have enough to eat each year.

Healthy Food for Denver Kids, as it's called, would raise sales taxes less than a penny on a $10 purchase, hoping to generate $100 million over 10 years to provide healthy food and education for all kids but especially low-income whose families may struggle to afford healthy options.

So far there isn’t any organized opposition, but those who oppose tax increases of any kind warn voters it could affect low-income people.

If passed, schools like Lake Middle School and those all over the Denver metro area could apply for funding to improve their nutrition programs.