DENVER (KDVR) — Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser announced that $3 million in Walmart settlement funds will go to food banks, pantries and diaper programs throughout the state.
The Colorado Department of Law will transfer $2.5 million to the Colorado Department of Human Services to provide funding to their partners, Weiser announced on Thursday.
Some $2 million will go to food banks and pantries, while $500,000 is dedicated to diaper programs. The remaining money will be given out as grants.
“We committed to find a way to use those funds to support people who are struggling with food insecurity, knowing that many people are looking at their groceries saying, ‘Can I afford to buy food?'” Weiser said.
The funding comes from a settlement Weiser made with Walmart last year for overcharging customers.
Food bank demand continues to grow
Under the terms of the settlement, the funds will be used to support local food pantries and other programs low-income Coloradans lean on for food and other necessities. The organization We Don’t Waste is benefitting from the funds.
“The demand, unfortunately, continues to grow as a result of many factors, including the pandemic, where we were constantly putting out food to folks. Inflation is a major driver of food insecurity, and the reduction in benefits through SNAP,” We Don’t Waste founder Arlan Preblud said.
Preblud founded We Don’t Waste 14 years ago. The organization collects food that would otherwise be thrown away and gives it back to the community.
“In the last two months, we secured our 200 millionth serving, which results in about 50,000 tons of food that we’ve kept out of the landfill and put it in the mouths of those that are food insecure,” Preblud said.
Weecycle, an organization that provides essential baby items, also will receive some of the funding, which the executive director said will help them keep up with increasing demand.
“Weecycle is serving an average of over 2,000 children each week, and the demand for our services is just increasing and we just can’t keep up with it, so with more funding, we’re able to serve more children with more items,” Morgan Seibel said.
All of the money will be distributed by June 2024.