DENVER – A coalition of anti-hunger groups in Denver have been removing letters from President Donald Trump from inside federal food assistance boxes that address recipient families.
The Denver Community Food Access Coalition said it has not been distributing the letter with its Farmers to Families food boxes because it is a politicization of federal aid and contains outdated public health information, The Denver Post reported. The coalition is made up of eight organizations, including the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment.
“Politicizing the one lifeline Colorado families have left during this health pandemic and economic crisis by putting these letters in food boxes is shameful and degrading,” Denver Food Rescue Executive Director Christine Alford said.
The coalition receives the food boxes under a U.S. Department of Agriculture program, which include fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy and meat.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture defended the letter Wednesday, saying that politics had no role in the food box program. The letter does not mention the election.
“The letter from President Trump has been included for several months now and contains health information that is critical to slowing the spread of COVID-19,” the agency said in an email.
The Denver Community Food Access Coalition accused Trump on Wednesday in a news release of trying to influence the presidential election with the letter.
Some, including dozens of Congress members, have argued the letter violates the Hatch Act, which prohibits executive branch employees from using their official authority to affect the result of an election.
“The largest public health and economic crisis Colorado has ever seen is not the time to exploit taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars and manipulate overworked direct service providers in an attempt to bolster one’s own re-election campaign,” said Teva Sienicki, CEO of Metro Caring, a member of the coalition.