Impact and Reports

Denver Department of Public Health & Environment's Healthy Food for Denver’s Kids program has awarded nearly $38 million to over 90 organizations offering healthy food access to youth and their families in the Mile High City.

The Department has released Healthy Food for Denver's Kids funds as part of three annual funding cycles, in addition to COVID-19 emergency hunger relief rapid response grants, and micro-grants of $10,000 or less. These grants have been provided to nonprofit organizations, public schools in Denver (including Denver Public Schools), and agencies of local government, to provide healthy food and food-based education to low-income and historically under-resourced youth.

“Our overarching goal is to ensure that no Denver child goes hungry,” says Robert McDonald, Executive Director of DDPHE. “COVID-19 quickly revealed the vulnerability of those who do not have adequate access to healthy food in Denver, and DDPHE is committed to responding to this need, through the Healthy Food for Denver’s Kids program and our other ongoing programs that implement the Denver Food Vision.”

Purpose of the Funds

Funds from the Healthy Foods for Denver's Kids Program go to:

  • Help Denver’s kids (primarily low income) have year-round access to up to three healthy meals and snacks per day
  • Hands-on experiential education and public health programs about farming, gardening, cooking, home economics, nutrition and healthy eating
  • Preferential procurement of food from Colorado farms, ranches, and food manufacturers
  • Organizations must conduct qualifying programmatic activities within the City and County of Denver, and the distributed revenues must principally benefit the city and its residents
  • Grantees must provide regular reporting on activities funded
  • Some funds can cover administration for applicant organizations, but no more than 10% can go towards city administration costs



Reports and Evaluations

What People Are Saying About Us

Quotes from Grantees

“The North H.S. is very excited to be able to explore, research, educate and positively influence the students and community by creating healthy, sustainable food choices to better the future of our vibrant community.” - Kellie Cassity, North High School

“Receiving the HFDK grant means that we will be able to provide a local teen with their first positive and supportive employment experience, distribute healthy snacks in our area by helping families and youth from diverse backgrounds and economic levels address day to day food insecurities and lack of access to healthy alternatives. There are very few employment opportunities for youth in this current economic downturn so offering a paid position to a local teen allows us to help the community with a very real need and also gain local trust, buy-in and street credibility as a library system. We are actively addressing the needs of our community on multiple levels and we couldn't be happier to be part of this partnership with HFDK!” - Larry, Senior Librarian at the Montbello Branch Library

“By receiving the HFDK funds, the Denver Public Schools Career and College Success team has a critical opportunity to build a hydroponic farm that addresses problems of poverty, food insecurity and diet-related diseases with our middle and high school students. Students will learn invaluable first-hand lessons including STEM education, how to overcome food inequities through urban agriculture and developing confidence to advocate for food justice in their own communities.” - Traci Sanchez, CTE Career Pathways

“Denver School of Innovation and Sustainable Design is overwhelmed with happiness due the HFDK grant funds that will enable our students to learn and experience how physical education, nutrition, and healthy food choices are all interrelated, while empowering them to lead and teach other students in our school the lessons that they learned. This idea stemmed from a dream of our students who presented their idea to DSISD administration during the 2018-2019 school year. Now we have been given the privilege to bring this dream into reality!” - Evelyn Cruz, Denver School of Innovation and Sustainable Design

“Due to the COVID pandemic many South High families are struggling financially and find it increasingly difficult to feed their children. Thanks to the HFDK grants we can provide our students and their families with a reliable, weekly source of healthy, nutritious food. We are grateful to the City of Denver for making this possible.” - Greg Thielen, Denver South High School Food Pantry

“The HFDK grant provides DUG with the opportunity to scale our work at a time when it is most needed; this will allow us to align all of our youth education programs to focus on a 'whole-child approach' for better access to resources and opportunities for Denver kids. Food Security, Healthy Bodies, Healthy Gardens, Community, and Essential Skills will all be covered under this work.” - Violeta Garcia, Denver Urban Gardens

“The grants from HFDK were timely and valuable. Food for Thought Denver stepped up to our responsibility during the COVID-19 crisis and timely grants from HFDK gave us the confidence to keep increasing our reach to make sure that no child is left hungry over the weekend. It is also allowing us to think creatively for Fall 2020. Thank you for your timely help.” - Nirav Shah, Food for Thought

“These funds mean a lot to Metro Caring’s community, as they will help support our hardworking staff, community leaders, and community members. This opportunity will also allow us to expand and improve our evaluation and data collection methods to improve our services in the long term. We couldn't do this work without HFDK.” - Sheena Kadi, Metro Caring

“Mile High 360 is thrilled to receive the HFDK funds to make our nutritional education truly robust and enticing for our students. It will be exciting to see families learn to cook and make healthy meals and snacks together, all while staying true to their cultural heritage and authentic cuisine. The native-Mexican trained chef and nutritionist is a welcome addition to our nutritional programming.” - Natalie A. Martinez, Mile High 360

“Our FreshLo Partners are thrilled to have the support of HFDK as we work to improve the health outcomes of children and youth in our community. The fact that the Denver community came together to create a funding mechanism to ensure that all kids can get the healthy food that will nourish their mind, body, and spirit is heartening. COVID-19 has underscored the importance of everyone - from our very youngest residents to the oldest -- knowing how to eat better and to even grow the food that we need to be healthy and strong. Our children are leading the way in this movement.” - Donna Garnett, Montbello Organizing Committee

"Whether it is sharing a meal with loved ones or learning to cook a recipe that has been in your family for generations, food is one of the greatest connectors. However, food insecurity is one of the largest issues our community faces. We are thrilled to be part of Healthy Food for Denver Kids and to be able to use food as a lens for children in SW Denver to learn about health equity, food justice, and the local food system." - JoAnna Cintron, Re:Vision

“Support from HFDK will have an immense impact on The GrowHaus’ programming and the youth and families we serve at a critical time for our community. With food insecurity soaring and youth and families struggling in the face of COVID-19, broad-based support from HFDK means our programs and staff have the resources behind them to work alongside our community with grit, perseverance, and passion to improve food access and well-being.” - Nathan Mackenzie, The GrowHaus

“We are fortunate for the support from the HFDK Emergency Hunger Relief Grant. The Far Northeast (Montbello) is home to thousands of children, many of which fall below the federal poverty guidelines. Many of our enrolled families were already struggling financially and the pandemic has exacerbated their financial woes. Our team of volunteers have been thoughtful and dependable by ensuring that every child has a plate of food and a box of perishable and non-perishable items for each family. As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continues to rise in communities of economic hardship, specifically communities of color, this grant has gone a long way to support more than 320 families with food.” Nathaniel Cradle, Venture for Success Prep

Quotes from Denver City Council

“Voter approval of the Healthy Food for Denver Kids could not have been more timely to have in place during COVID to meet the need of so many kids/families across our city who experience food insecurity. This became even more critical as people were laid off from work and couldn’t meet their household needs and were also not able to put food on the table for their children! Thank you Denver voters!” - Councilwoman Debbie Ortega, At-Large

“Food insecurity has surged during the COVID-19 pandemic, our communities of color have been hit the hardest and the need for access to healthy food is more critical than ever. I was proud that this team was able to coalesce quickly to get funds out to the community during the stay-at-home order. This most recent distribution of funding is indicative of the seriousness that we took in ensuring organizations who are dedicated to food delivery to families had the funds they needed to respond to the crisis and to think creatively about what could be built to provide food well into the future. - Councilwoman Jamie Torres, District 3





View 2023 HFDK Map


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