These Families Are Already Struggling
In Colorado, our cost of living has continued to increase year after year. This means that families that are currently at the federal level of poverty are extremely struggling in our state. The use of BBCE in Colorado extends SNAP benefits to our families at or below 200% of federal poverty. This gives our families a fighting chance to provide for their students.
The proposed changes to SNAP would mean that 5% or 10,511 households could lose benefits to our programs. Many times when I talk with families that do not realize that their SNAP benefits automatically qualify them for free meals in our state, they become emotional with gratitude knowing that their earnings can go to other expenses like school supplies, activities, and clothing for their children.
These families are already struggling in our state. If these benefits are taken away, we expect to see a significant increase in unpaid meal debt. Colorado is also one of the worst funded states for public education. For school nutrition departments to have to take money from the general fund to cover the unpaid meal debt impacts our classrooms as a whole and does not provide the best opportunities for our schools and students.