Suburban hunger is an often hidden and unknown problem. Jeffco Eats was formed in 2014 to help alleviate this for the children and families in poverty that live in Jefferson County. We began by talking to other weekend food program directors to see how we could help.
During the past ten years, suburban poverty has risen a stunning 53% and in Jefferson County the fastest growing population is low-income and extremely low-income families. Jefferson County has the second largest Colorado school district with 85,000 students, yet 30,000 live in poverty and qualify for Free and Reduced Lunch. Jefferson County also now has the highest number of homeless students - more than3,000 - of any school district in the state.
Working with Food Bank of the Rockies and Jefferson County Department of Education, Jeffco Eats provides free food totes for families not only to increase food security for at risk youth, but to provide a healthy, diverse menu of food options to ensure the best possible nutritional content so children grow up with a well-rounded and nourishing diet that provides food on the weekends and in the summer when getting food can be the hardest time for children and families that are struggling financially. Jeffco Eats operates as a mobile pantry to schools and Section 8 apartment communities. We serve ages from preschool Head Start, Elementary, Middle and High Schools. There are 4,566 students on free and reduced lunch program at schools served. We now help 650 students per week at 31 locations. With additional funding we can help many more students each week.