Jul 20, 2023 - Health

Colorado's largest food bank sees spike in demand

Illustration of a hundred dollar bill-shaped box filled with produce

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Colorado's largest hunger relief organization is facing a surge in demand for free food.

Driving the news: The Food Bank of the Rockies is seeing a 40% increase in people needing food assistance this summer compared to last year, president and CEO Erin Pulling tells us.

Why it matters: The organization provides food for hundreds of thousands of people, covering about half of Colorado.

  • It includes metro Denver, northern Colorado, the Western Slope and the Eastern Plains, and the entire state of Wyoming.

State of play: The Food Bank is facing a two-headed monster.

  • Higher food costs due to inflation mean it's struggling to keep pace with the increased demand — one Pulling said was caused by the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) reducing the amount of money some people got for food earlier this year.

What they're saying: "We really don't see an end in sight," she said.

By the numbers: The Food Bank spends about $1.5 million on food every month.

  • Pulling says it doesn't have an exact estimate of the number of people it helps because food is distributed through partnering agencies, so it's harder to track how many people are assisted.
  • Food is distributed through smaller hunger relief organizations and 70 mobile pantries, which she said are available in both urban and rural areas where there are no brick-and-mortar pantries.

Of note: Superstar Taylor Swift last week donated a "generous" amount of money that equated to about 75,000 meals.

Be smart: Pulling said the best way people can help the nonprofit is by donating money instead of food.

  • She notes a $1 donation can be turned into three meals because the agency partners directly with manufacturers, retailers and the federal government, so it can get food much cheaper.

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Denver.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Denver stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Denver.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more