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Southern Colorado food banks and pantries sound alarm about impending funding cuts

Posted at 11:05 PM, May 28, 2024

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Local food banks and pantries in Southern Colorado are sounding the alarm about impending funding cuts that will impact services in the area.

Nate Springer, CEO of Care and Share Food Bank, said the state allocated $14 million in pandemic-era funding to help food insecurity last year. This summer, he said that funding will decrease to $3 million across the entire state.

"While the state and the federal government are putting less money into food security, it would be one thing if the requisite number of people that we help was also declining, but it's not," said Springer. "It's increasing, and every month we hear from our partner food pantries and our partner agencies that those lines are getting longer."

According to Feeding America's latest report, food insecurity in Southern Colorado is higher than in years past. The report said 12.8% of people in the region (about 25,000 individuals) are considered food insecure. Statewide, food insecurity impacts 11.5% of people.

Solid Rock Food Pantry in Colorado Springs gets about 80% of its food from Care and Share. Yevgeniya Tsyganok, the pantry's food service coordinator, said the decrease in funding will impact them significantly, including all of the other local pantries that rely heavily on Care and Share.

"The state of our food issues is not going away because the income is not keeping up with the cost of living anymore. Groceries have risen by 40 to 50% over the last year and a half," said Tsyganok.

She said the pantry has already decided to cut its free farmers' market programs this summer due to funding issues. Springer said Care and Share will rely on donors in the coming months to help supply Southern Colorado with much-needed food assistance.

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