Author Archives: Kody Gerkin

TCHNetwork Holds to Raise Colorado’s SNAP Enrollment Percentage 

More than 10% of Coloradans struggle with hunger. That’s an estimated 560,700 individuals by 2017 statistics. For some, this may be a result of unexpected financial hardship, job loss, health issues, working a minimum wage job or other misfortune, either long or short-term. Luckily, Tri-County Health Network (TCHNetwork) has staff dedicated to helping enroll individuals in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). 

Food insecurity has a direct effect on people’s health and well-being and effects everyone from all walks of life. As humans, we all rely on quality, nutritious food to grow, develop, function and live a balanced and healthy life. Nutritious food helps babies develop, gives kids the needed energy to excel in school, reduces the risk of chronic diseases in adults, and keeps seniors stable and independent. Yet, more than 10% of Coloradans struggle to access this vital requirement of life. 

Shockingly, Colorado ranks 45th nationwide in enrolling eligible residents into the food assistance program! Only 58 percent of those eligible actual get the nutritious food they need. Far behind the national average of 75 percent. With Food Assistance as a public benefit and large part of our social safety net it is difficult to understand why individuals are not taking advantage of this program. 

Looking closer at the root causes of this conundrum, we can see that this great benefit is in fact not accessible to a lot of Coloradans. Particularly those that are low-income, non-English speakers, children and seniors struggle to receive Food Assistance. Many individuals also find the application too burdensome for the perceived benefit, don’t know where they can go for assistance or succumb to the social pressure and stigma associated with enrolling in “Food Stamps.  

To overcome these challenges TCHNetwork is prioritizing Food Assistance into our common enrollment services. Meaning our team will enroll candidates in SNAP throughout the year and at convenient locations for our clients. Sharing an enrollment process with other state programs; Health First Colorado (Medicaid) or Child Health Plans Plus (CHP+) each TCHNetwork Enrollment Navigator will include SNAP as part of each enrollment. Our highly trained team of Navigators are well versed in the unique requirements of SNAP and can easily handle the follow up process to keep our residents receiving the service they deserve. 

Benefits range greatly and depend entirely on one’s financial situation, household size and region. To receive local assistance, contact one of our Enrollment Navigators below. 

Name  Region  Email  Phone 
Skitter Jones  Norwood & West End 


Lily Kiely  Telluride 


Marlen Olivas  Telluride (Spanish assistance) 


Carol Schutter  Ouray 


Angela Bullard  Delta/Montrose  970-708-0921 


-Erich Lange, Community Programs Manager

Cooking Matters!

Me interesa mucho la salud en general, pero creo que hay una gran falta de conocimientos en el tema de alimentación, por lo que decidí involucrarme en las clases de Cooking Matters. Los objetivos de las clases de Cooking Matters son para compartir opiniones y nuevas recetas, hechas con ingredientes no tan caros pero saludables, y preparar nuevos alimentos con la comunidad y aprender juntos. Creo que el informarse sobre los productos que comemos… Continue Reading

Senior Services

How do you plan on aging in place? Services for older adults are often overlooked and, in many places, almost nonexistent.  There are several reasons for the lack of development of senior services and for the lack of awareness of existing services.   These reasons include:  Many people assume that their health will quickly decline towards the end of… Continue Reading

Food RX Addresses Upstream Determinants of Health

Upstream def: in the opposite direction from that in which a stream or river flows; nearer to the source. The Food RX program is an initiative focused on addressing a person’s health issues at one of the sources. Food insecurity and, more specifically, healthy food insecurity is one of the main upstream causes or exacerbators of health issues that develop downstream, including obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Healthy food insecurity can even cascade into other… Continue Reading

American Heart Month

February is American Heart Month. This is a great time to reflect on the effects our diet and physical activity have on our heart health.  The American Heart Association is a great resource when it comes to knowing the most up to date information on cardiovascular health.   At Tri-County Health Network, our Community Health Workers (CHWs) provide heart healthy screenings to community members for free. Our screenings include a blood pressure check, and levels of cholesterol, blood glucose, and… Continue Reading

A Vital Part of the Community

Inarguably, our undocumented residents are a vital part of this community’s local economy. Undocumented immigrants living in Colorado pay $139.5 million in state and local taxes, which fund services we all benefit from.Immigrants help power major sectors of our economy, driving innovation, creating jobs and boosting economic growth. In our congressional district, immigrants make up… Continue Reading

Healthcare Coverage

January 15th, 2019 ended the Open Enrollment period for Coloradans to sign up for health insurance on the state-run exchange, Connect for Health Colorado. A new record-high enrollment was seen in Colorado during this year’s Open Enrollment. More than 169,000 Coloradans enrolled in health coverage for 2019, which was a two percent increase over the Open Enrollment period in 2018. Tri-County Health Network helped enroll… Continue Reading

Skippy in 2018

2018 has been a great year for TCHNetwork’s Skippy Dental Program, we provided preventive dental services to 519 patients! Our staff worked hard to facilitate 49 clinic days at 10 local schools and a few adult clinics for the Mexican American Development Association (MADA) and at a local Latino Wellness Fair. This past year, we completed a record number of virtual dental exams… Continue Reading

Mental Health First Aid Agency of the Year

Pictured above: MHFA Instructors Erich Lange, Paul Reich and Ben Marshall of Tri-County Health Network (missing from photo, Kody Gerkin), which was recognized as the 2018 Organization of the Year by Mental Health First Aid Colorado in October. Mental Health Matters!  To each of us as individuals.  To our families and friends.  To our communities.  And, of course, to Tri-County… Continue Reading

Somos Uno Telluride

Somos Uno Telluride is a leadership development program that TCHNetwork facilitated with the support from the Colorado Health Foundation. This program aims to improve the health and leadership and advocacy skills of the Latino and Latino ally population in San Miguel County.The most recent graduating class completed the program at the end of last year… Continue Reading

Translate »