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One in four El Paso County residents enrolled in SNAP benefits, food banks see higher demand

Posted at 5:59 PM, Nov 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-21 08:25:07-05

EL PASO COUNTY — The El Paso County Department of Human Services (DHS) says almost one in four people in the county are enrolled in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.

Karen Logan, El Paso County DHS Economic Benefits Director, said that is a record-high enrollment rate and families are feeling the effects of high prices at the grocery store. During the holiday season, she said the number of applications normally increases.

“We call it a heavy food month so we do see an increase in applications during that time, especially in the winter months," said Logan.

There has been a 7% increase in SNAP cases since 2021, according to data from the El Paso County DHS. As we enter Thanksgiving week, food banks like Salvation Army Colorado Springs are also feeling the increased need.

“This is the greatest need I’ve seen and, once again, since Covid, it keeps growing and growing," said Jeane Turner, Community Relations Director for Salvation Army Colorado Springs.

Turner said this is the highest need for food assistance she has seen in a decade. She said when the need for food rises, normally donations go down because even donors and partners feel the effects.

“We’re seeing a lot of seniors, a lot of families that are what we call working-poor families. They are just really struggling to make ends meet. Food costs have gotten so high they’re having to make the choice do we pay our utilities, do we stock up our cupboards and feed our families, or pay our bills. It’s getting really tough right now," she said.

Thanks to several large food drives over the weekend, Salvation Army Colorado Springs will be able to provide enough food for people throughout the holiday season.

The organization will serve its annual free Thanksgiving Day meals at five locations across the county from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Nov. 23:

  • The Salvation Army Colorado Springs, 908 Yuma Street
  • Woodland Park Community Church, 800 Valley View Drive
  • Manitou Springs City Hall, 606 Manitou Avenue
  • Fountain Valley Senior Center, 5745 Southmoor Drive
  • The Salvation Army Family Hope Center, 709 South Sierra Madre
    Salvation Army Thanksgiving Meals
    Salvation Army Colorado Springs will serve its annual free Thanksgiving Day meals at five locations across the county from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Nov. 23.

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