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Colorado senator introduces bill to allow SNAP benefit recipients buy hot meals

Of the more than 42 million SNAP participants across the nation, almost 70% are children, elderly, or those with disabilities
Posted at 10:31 PM, Jul 19, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-20 07:55:13-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — Low-income families and seniors who receive monthly food benefits from the federal government known as SNAP, could eventually be able to purchase hot and cold prepared meals through the program. It is part of proposed legislation introduced last week called the “Hot Foods Act.”

Patience Kabwasa is the executive director of Food to Power, a non-profit organization increasing access to food in Colorado Springs. She works with local families receiving SNAP benefits.

“Talking with those folks, yes, they don't have another way to rely on food. They are attending soup kitchens or being able to access food that is already prepared and ready to go,” said Kabwasa.

Colorado Senator Michael Bennet introduced the legislation to help with this, saying the current provision for SNAP benefits is outdated.

Right now, families on SNAP benefits cannot buy prepared foods, but this legislation would change that, allowing families to buy rotisserie chickens, hot sandwiches and soups, for example.

“I think locally, we will see more folks who are houseless and people who are living in hotels, being able to access food,” said Kabwasa. “Not everyone has a kitchen, and not everyone has access to prepare food traditionally.”

Of the more than 42 million SNAP participants across the nation, almost 70% are children, elderly, or those with disabilities.

“I think this is going to be helpful to you in your life, and just creating less barriers for people who are already experiencing hardships,” said Kabwasa.

Kabwasa also said the legislation would help all local families, including those who live in Southeast Colorado Springs, which is a community where many rely on public assistance.

“Anything that we can do to make sure that they are able to have the ability to have one more hot meal or one more fresh meal on the table, it just makes sense,” said Kabwasa.

Senator Bennet released this statement on the bill, saying: “Food insecurity is one of the greatest threats to the health, wellbeing, and academic success of our children. That's why I introduced legislation to cut red tape in the program that prevents Coloradans from using their SNAP benefits to buy prepared and hot foods for their families."

The bill was introduced last week. It has a long way to go before it could be signed into law by president Joe Biden.

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