Thoughtful Parenting: Feeding your family when times are tough |

Thoughtful Parenting: Feeding your family when times are tough

I recently learned that approximately 40 percent of our Routt County families fall below the self-sufficiency standard, which is an income of $62,500 per year, and 6.1 percent of our families are living below the poverty level, according to the Routt County Human Services Department, the U.S. Census Bureau and Yampa Valley Data Partners.

Sometimes people are forced to make tough choices — like whether to pay bills or buy enough food to eat. Thankfully, our community has a safety net to help people feed themselves and their families. This article provides a list of resources if you or someone you know has to make tough choices about food. Whether you are an individual, a parent, grandparent, guardian or custodian, don’t neglect yourself or your children — there are many ways to put food on the table in Routt County.

Here is a list of local food options, complied by Northwest CO Food Coalition’s Food Security Task Force:

Infants to 5 year olds and pregnant and breastfeeding women

• WIC — Women Infant and Children: Provides free supplemental foods, nutrition education and referrals to health care to eligible individuals. SNAP, TANF and Medicaid recipients automatically qualify. 970-879-1632, Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association.

• CACFP — Child and Adult Food Care Program: Provides free healthy lunches for preschoolers. May be available at local early childhood centers or in-home sites.

Children and teens ages 6 to 18 years old

• NSLP — National School Lunch Program: Provides low-cost or free lunches to income-qualified children during the school year. Available at public schools.

Infants to those 18 years old

• SFSP — Summer Food Service Program: Free breakfast and lunch program for children ages 18 and younger at approved SFSP sites in Hayden during the summer months. 970-846-9083, Totally Kids.

• SBP — School Breakfast Program: Provides low-cost or free breakfasts to children during the school year at Steamboat Springs schools. 970-846-4936, Steamboat Springs School District.

Senior citizens

• CSFP — Commodity Supplemental Food Program: Supplements diets with nutritious commodity foods and provides basic nutritious education for seniors age 60 and older. 970-870-8804, Lift-Up of Routt County.

• Senior Nutrition Programs: These programs, including Meals on Wheels and Congregate and Senior lunches, provide free hot, nutritious meals for seniors age 60 and older. 970-879-0633, Routt County Council on Aging.

All ages

• SNAP — Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: Provides food for all ages experiencing hardship. Apply online at PEAK,, or locally at the Department of Human Services. 970-879-1540, Department of Human Services.

• TEFAP — Temporary Emergency Food Assistance Program: Provides free emergency food and nutrition assistance to low-income individuals. 970-870-8804, Lift-Up of Routt County.

• Local food bank: Provides food for low-income residents of all ages who meet the organization’s guidelines. 970-870-8804, Lift-Up of Routt County.

• Free family meals are also available in Routt County at various times and locations. See Steamboat Today’s Happenings for details.

Find a link to the food resources listed above at

Stay fed, stay well. Take care of yourself and your children.

Suzanne Fegelein, J.D., is the executive director for Northwest Rocky Mountain CASA, a local nonprofit that trains volunteers to advocate in court for the best interests of abused and neglected children. For more information, visit

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