ANDY MAGEL: Technology can help struggling metro Aurora families reach for better jobs and better food

Every day across the country, technology is transforming our lives and helping us do more. Whether it’s video calls helping connect family members who live far away from each other, telemedicine strengthening access to health care for rural communities, or online education programs helping many people earn their college degree, technology is helping us do more than we ever imagined possible.

Technology is also helping millions of hard-working Americans put food on the table for their families when they fall on hard times.

As the Founder of Mile High WorkShop, we’re proud to partner with FreshEBT, a free app that helps fight hunger by giving these families the tools they need to get the most out of their monthly grocery budget, find ways to save money, and access good-paying local jobs that will help them get back on their feet.

There are 45 million of our fellow Americans here in Denver and in cities and rural towns – young and old, from all races and ethnicities – who just don’t have enough to eat. They rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or “food stamps” to put food on the table.

Those 45 million Americans include one of out of every four children in this country and more than 20,000 active-duty troops. It’s a big problem, but because of technology there are some easy ways to help those on SNAP put more food on the table, find good jobs, and get back on their feet.

Most of us can take out our phone and check our bank balance to know what we can afford to spend. It takes seconds. If you’re on SNAP, knowing your balance is even more critical. It lets SNAP recipients know when their – or their child’s – next meal will be.

But if you want to check your SNAP balance, your options include checking it with a computer – which most on SNAP don’t have – or calling a government hotline and going through a bunch of prompts. This doesn’t help a mother working to make ends meet, shuttling her kids to school, or caring for an elderly parent. It certainly isn’t effective if you’re already at the grocery store.

Here at Mile High WorkShop, we’ve worked for more than 4 years to help these families by ensuring they have access to skills training and local job opportunities here in the Denver area. Working together with our local communities, we’ve helped more than 90 hardworking families and individuals put food on the table and get on the path to a better future.

We’re proud to partner with FreshEBT to continue our mission of helping to lift up these families and do even more to ensure they can to build skills and find good local jobs that will help them provide for their family. Anyone here in the Denver area who uses the FreshEBT app can easily see the job training services we offer and sign up.

By helping more families strengthen their job skills, we can ensure they are able to better compete for good-paying jobs in our community. And in the process, we are also helping local businesses find the skilled workers they need to grow and succeed and this helps strengthen and grow our local economy.Giving hardworking families in need a helping hand and ensuring they can put food on the table is about doing what’s right for our communities and our economy. I am proud to be working with FreshEBT to give families the tools they need to reach higher and urge local leaders here in the Denver area and across the country to do the same.

Andy Magel is the Director of Mile High WorkShop, an Aurora non-profit working to create employment opportunities and provide job training to local families in need.