DENVER (CBS4)– Law enforcement officers and first responders in Denver are coming together with the community in an effort to help those in need. And they’re doing it using something as simple as food.
It’s all part of an overarching plan to help better the city.
“We’re really excited about Mayor Hancock’s Equity Platform and that’s what the Denver Opportunity Index is all about,” said Troy Riggs, Director of Denver Department of Public Safety.
Riggs says the vision is to ensure everyone has the opportunity to succeed.
“We believe that endeavor begins with food,” he explained.
That’s why the department hopes to equip first responders with non-perishable food items in the future; they could then give food to people they encounter while on routine calls who are in need.
“Food insecurity in our city is somewhere between 11% and 12%, meaning people don’t have three good meals a day. And we know that leads to poor quality of life,” Riggs said.
In other words, the department says the basic need for food could drive someone to desperation. That’s why city leaders want to help.
“Sometimes people say, ‘Why are you doing this in public safety?’ Because we understand food is essential for quality of life. If you don’t have adequate food, you’re not going to do well in school if you’re a child. If you don’t have access you could live in an abusive home and lack of food leads to degradation of quality of life and it manifests itself in crime in neighborhoods,” said Riggs.
The plan will require some help from community partners, however. The department is looking for partners who can donate food to distribute, like churches and non-profits.
“All issues begin with a lack of food. And if we can solve that in our city we are going to be on a path That’s going to improve the lives of many individuals here in Denver,” said Riggs.