Friends of Longmont Youth has received $75,000 from the state for the Community Meals Program to help respond to the ongoing increase in food insecurity in light of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a news release.
Friends of Longmont Youth’s mission is to support positive youth development programs, in partnership with the city of Longmont’s Children, Youth, and Families Division. The Community Meals Program is a collaboration of Friends of Longmont Youth, the Longmont Youth Center, St. Vrain Valley School District Nutrition Services, Community Food Share, Longmont Food Rescue and Bridge House Community Table Kitchen, according to the release. Money from the Colorado COVID Relief Fund grant will be used to continue and expand the program to provide meals for adults and youth, take-home groceries, and to add additional distribution sites, according to the release.
"Earlier this summer, FLY received a $25,000 grant from the Colorado COVID Relief Fund” Meca Delgado, treasurer of the board of FLY, stated in the release. “Those funds have been used to feed our community over the past few months and this grant will allow us to continue to serve families in need in the Longmont community.”
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect everyone in Longmont differently, and some more than others. The recent decision to continue with online-only schooling means many youth struggle to access daily meals, the release stated. Single parents, families with lower incomes, communities of color and children have been particularly hard-hit by the devastating economic impacts of the virus, according to the release.
“Unfortunately, we see our community food needs are still increasing,” Kyl Caragol, youth program leader with the Longmont Youth Center, stated in the release. “The school district has done an excellent job of providing meal sites, but there are still some significant geographical gaps — some kids would have to walk over an hour to get a school meal. With many parents returning to work, there’s just no one to drive them. Our agency partners have identified several high-need neighborhoods and are serving these meals within the communities themselves, so it’s much easier for youth just walk out their front door to pick up breakfast and lunch.”
In addition to meals, youth and families are provided with take-home activity kits from the Longmont Youth Center, books donated by Friends of the Longmont Library, and cloth masks donated by The Hidden Treasure 2, according to the release. Resources on housing, employment, mental health, and academic success are also offered to families needing support.
Led by an executive committee in coordination with the governor’s office, the Colorado COVID Relief Fund was developed to raise and coordinate allocation of money based on COVID-19 prevention, impact and recovery needs of community-based organizations in Colorado, according to the release. The fund is organized to ensure that the most acute community needs across the state are being addressed and that community voice is reflected in all funding decisions made over time, the release stated.
For more information about the Community Meals Program and the Youth Center, contact Christina Pacheco Sims, Children, Youth and Families Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-774-3752.
For more information about Friends of Longmont Youth, contact Meca Delgado at email@example.com or 303-328-1540.