h.o.p.e.'s clients come from a variety of backgrounds and include the unemployed, homeless, people with disabilities, single parents and struggling working families needing to supplement their food or Social Security payments. 30% of the people served are children and 15% of the people served have a disability or health issues.
h.o.p.e. does not require its clients to provide documentation of their income in order to receive food, therefore protecting their dignity. The documentation barrier prevents many families - particularly those seeking food assistance for the first time - from accessing the food they need. As of February 20, 2012, proof of residence is required, although h.o.p.e. does not have boundaries as to which cities, etc. we serve.
h.o.p.e.'s staff work to tailor their program to the specific needs of their clients, such as special nutritional needs of one member of a household.
With the economic downturn the demographics of people who visit the pantry are changing. More working families are facing job loss or mounting expenses, which make it difficult to meet their basic needs. As of January 2012, Colorado's unemployment rate was 7.8%.
According to the "2012 Kids Count in Colorado" report, the number of Colorado children in food insecure households increased 86% from 2002 to 2010, and since 2008, monthly SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program; Food Stamps) participation has grown by nearly 80%.
The 2010 poverty rate for a family of 4 with no children under 18 years of age was $22,541, while the figure for a family of 4 with 2 children under 18 was $22,162. The 2011 Health and Human Services (HHS) poverty guideline for a family of 4 is $22,350.
An estimated 272,000 households in Colorado are "food insecure", meaning they have limited or uncertain access to food.
Total people living in poverty in Colorado through 2010 was 659,786 individuals.