The Emergency Family Assistance Association, or EFAA, has been providing families in Boulder with services to help them through difficult times for over 100 years. The organization offers financial assistance, case management, housing programs, and a food pantry among many other initiatives. Executive Director Julie Van Domelen tells KGNU’s Sarah Dalgleish that the goal is to provide those in need with holistic support as hunger is just the tip of the iceberg for many families in crisis.
“If you need help on food, there are probably other things going on as well. We have funding for things like eyeglasses, rental assistance, and utilities. It’s really all about the household budget, not so much about food specifically—food insecurity is an indicator of economic insecurity.”
With kids out of school for the summer, many families experience greater financial burdens. EFAA tries to ease the difficulties through various summer initiatives.
“We work with families that come here to make sure they can get more food in the summer. We also work with them on developing a summer plan. That’s not only food, but what to do with kids while you’re working. We have a number of day camps so the parents can keep working and their children can have an enriching experience” Van Domelen says.
One in five families in Boulder faces food insecurity. Van Domelen says a major part of the problem is invisibility.
“When you think of Boulder, you really think of this beautiful city that has mountains, outdoor activities, great restaurants, the university, and this vibrancy. You do not usually describe Boulder as a place of child poverty; it’s kind of a quiet crisis. We are a community of haves and have-nots. My plea to the haves is to educate yourself.”
To learn more about EFAA, visit their website https://www.efaa.org/.