Buy tickets now for Front Range Rally 2017!

Front Range Rally 2017Front Range Rally is May 20! Now in its fifth year,  Front Range Rally is a beer festival and food truck rally that celebrates Colorado’s rich culture of craft brewing and myriad of mobile food vendors in our region. One hundred percent of the net proceeds from the festival will be given to the Food Bank to support our vision of a hunger-free Larimer county.

This year’s Front Range Rally will feature nearly 55 craft beverage makers that will serve over 150 unique beers, wines, ciders and spirits alongside ten local food truck favorites that will deliver an array of delicious fare. See the current list here. Live, local music will grace the stage to round out a perfect day of fun in the Colorado sun.

The Rally will take place Loveland Food Share, 2600 N. Lincoln, Loveland, CO from 2:30 – 7 PM on May 20th, 2017. Tickets are now on sale and can be purchased at www.FrontRangeRally.org.  Ticket includes admission to festival grounds, food trucks, live music, and UNLIMITED beer sampling. (Food is sold separately.) V.I.P. tickets and designated driver tickets are also available.

Don’t forget to invite your friends to the Rally!

 

Join Us for the 2017 Corporate Food Fight!

Corporate Food Fight - Food Bank for Larimer countyJoin the Food Bank for Larimer County for the 18th Annual Corporate Food Fight this April. One of our signature fundraising events, the Corporate Food Fight challenges local businesses to raise food and funds for the Food Bank for Larimer County to help us feed families, children, and seniors in need in our community.

The challenge spans the entire month, but each company designs their own campaign timeline and style. Some participants do a basic and simple food drive or have a food-based event such as a bake sale or chili cook-off – others get downright creative and do things like executive tricycle races or have genuine food fights! The more engaging and fun, the better! Businesses can also elect to set up an online portal to capture donations and encourage customers, families, and friends of employees to campaign on behalf of the business as well.

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Dine. Discover. Donate.

Great Plates Fort Collins 2017Great Plates of Downtown Fort Collins is a chance to enjoy $25 dining specials at 28 different downtown restaurants from March 1-14, 2017; whether you’re revisiting your favorite spot or discovering somewhere new, there’s plenty to enjoy and something for everyone.

All restaurants offer dining option(s) for $25 that includes special menu items, different course options, and some even include drinks. See the full list of participating restaurants and their specials here.

These specials are offered to encourage patrons to donate their savings to the Food Bank for Larimer County. Last year, diners helped raise $87,000 and this year we have a lofty goal of raising $90,000! After you dine, look for Great Plates donation information with your check. For every $1 donated, we can provide $5 worth of food to children, families, and seniors in our community living with food insecurity.

By joining the Great Plates fun, you’ll not only help the Food Bank for Larimer County meet its mission, but you’ll also help support our downtown restaurants with your patronage.

‘Like’ our Facebook Page to see video interviews in the coming weeks with several participating restaurants to get an inside look at what goes on behind the scenes of Great Plates. Download your Great Plates list by clicking here and start planning your Great Plates of Downtown adventure. Be sure to invite your friends!

Great Plates of Downtown Fort Collins 2017
March 1-14, 2017
5 PM – Business Close
Specials Menu

Join us for the 20th Anniversary of Empty Bowls!

Empty Bowls 2017This year marks the 20th Anniversary of Empty Bowls on February 2, 2017. This major fundraiser for the Food Bank for Larimer County began at Lopez Elementary when an art teacher, Mike McCarthy, inspired his students to create empty bowls to represent those who do not have enough to eat. Forty community members gathered at Lopez and an annual event to raise funds and awareness for hunger-relief in Fort Collins was born. In 1997, the inaugural year of Empty Bowls, the Food Bank for Larimer County distributed two million pounds of food to those in need. As Empty Bowls has grown, so too has the need in our community.

By purchasing tickets to the Empty Bowls event, guests will receive a hand-crafted pottery bowl created by a Poudre School District student or local artist. Fort Collins’ restaurants will provide soup for dinner and ice cream and coffee for dessert.  A silent art auction will also take place during the event.

As a major fundraiser for the Food Bank, Empty Bowls raises awareness by reminding us that thousands of our neighbors face empty bowls on their tables throughout the year. For the price of one ticket to Empty Bowls, guests will help the Food Bank provide over $250 worth of food to serve hope to families in need in our community.

Empty Bowls has grown from offering five signature soups in 1998 to over twenty soups in 2016 and has raised more than $775,000 over the years for the Food Bank’s hunger-relief programs.

Special 20th Anniversary Events Include:

  • VIP Artists’ Reception at 4:30 pm – more details to come!
  • Live Auction Clay Throwing
  • Special Anniversary Program
  • Recognition Ceremony

Seating is limited at the Empty Bowls event, purchase your tickets here as they frequently sell out.

Details:

Date: Thursday, February 2, 2017
Time: 5:30 – 8:30 pm
Location: Hilton Fort Collins
Tickets: $55/individual; $100/pair
Purchase your tickets.

Cans Around the Oval Celebrates 30th Anniversary

It started with one student and a two-page proposal for a canned food drive. From there, another student built on the idea. Their actions set the course for the Colorado State University tradition known as Cans Around the Oval.

1987 News ArticleThe Idea

In 1987, journalism student Susan Trautman created a plan for a food drive for one of her classes. After completing the paper, she decided to execute. Following,  she contacted Food Bank for Larimer County’s Director, Sandy Bowden. Bowden loved the idea and even suggested the name “Cans Around the Oval.” In the following weeks, Trautman recruited six fraternities and challenged them to compete to see which group could collect the most cans. Her goal was 2,500 pounds.  The six fraternities spent one-week canvassing neighborhoods to ask for donations.  At the end of the week, they had collected 5,318 pounds of food! Members of the fraternities and other organizers lined the oval with the cans to celebrate the generosity of the community.

Carrying the Torch

In 1988, graduate student Victoria Keller was hired to oversee the efforts of the Office of Community Services  (OCS) at CSU. She remembered reading about the Cans Around the Oval proposal and had worked with Sandy Bowden in the past.  She decided the project fit well with the goals of OCS.  That year, the participant list expanded beyond fraternities and Cans Around the Oval collected nearly 11,000 pounds of food for the Food Bank for Larimer County. After graduation, Victoria joined the staff of OCS and successfully lead the growth of Cans Around the Oval for nearly 15 years.

Cans Around the Oval started with one student who wanted to make a difference. Thirty years later, over 16,000 people from the CSU campus and the local community continue the tradition. Moreover, Cans Around the Oval has become integral to raising hunger awareness and providing resources to fight hunger in our community. An idea sparked by a class assignment has now become part of the University’s history and a huge benefit to the overall well-being of Larimcr County.

Learn more about this year’s Cans Around the Oval.

 

Take Action!

Nothing runs on empty. Not your phone, your car, your computer. Unfortunately, the feeling of running on empty is a reality for nearly 43,000 neighbors who often don’t have enough to eat.

The rising costs of housing, childcare and other expenses combined with slow wage growth make it increasingly difficult for thousands of households to keep up. When facing tough choices, cutting back on food is often the solution, but it comes at a price. Hunger and health are deeply connected. People who are food insecure are disproportionally affected by diet-related diseases such asHAM_DryErasePlate_Front diabetes and high blood pressure. Food insecurity is also linked to poor psychological and behavioral health.

For seniors, food insecurity makes it difficult to manage illness and maintain health. After a lifetime of work, many seniors face unexpected medical issues while living on fixed incomes and are forced to choose between paying for groceries and buying medicine. On empty stomachs, kids don’t have the energy to focus, engage, learn and grow. Yet, this is the reality for 1 in 3 children in Larimer County.

For over 30 years, Food Bank for Larimer County has been dedicated to providing food to all in need. Last year, we distributed enough food for 7.4 million meals. We work hard to offer foods that promote good health, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. We believe that making healthy choices available to our guests will nourish both body and soul and help stabilize lives and build a vibrant community.

September is Hunger Action Month. Together with Feeding America, food banks across the country are working to raise awareness of the impact of food insecurity and motivate action. The symbol of this year’s campaign is the empty plate. An empty plate means an empty stomach. And on an empty stomach, no one can thrive. This month, we’re asking everyone to come together to help end hunger. We offer a variety of ways you can get involved. Take a tour. Volunteer. Donate.  Together, we can help ensure everyone has the fuel they need to succeed.

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Hungry Kids in Larimer County

Larimer County is a beautiful place to live.  Just below the foothills, Larimer County is one of the best agricultural locations in the state.  Surrounded by farms of various sizes, growing a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, it is hard to imagine that Larimer County has any hungry families.  Yet 14% of Larimer County residents live below the poverty level and 33% of children qualify for free & reduced school lunches.

The cause of hunger is usually poverty.  There are a significant number of families that live in the grey area, making too much money to qualify for aid and assistance programs yet, cannot afford to feed their families due to the high cost of living in Larimer County.

The Food Bank for Larimer County is dedicated to ending childhood hunger.  Over 30% of the food distributed by our Food Share program is provided to children in our community.  In addition, our Child Nutrition programs focus on providing meals and snacks to children during the summer months when school is out as well as during the school year.

For a full description of the programs available to children click here

What makes our Child Nutrition programs unique?  Many people may not know this, but the Food Bank has a fully functioning kitchen with a volunteer force of 20 people a day.  Volunteers make it not only possible, but also more cost effective to prepare meals and snacks from scratch.

“Scratch cooking is what defines our program”. –Mike DeBonte, Kitchen Supervisor

According to Kitchen Supervisor, Mike DeBonte, the Food Bank has been able to expand the number of Kids Cafe sites and children served due to savings generated by scratch cooking.  Not only is the food more cost effective, but also more nutritious.  Cooking meals and snacks in-house allows for more control over added sugar, salt and fat.  For example, muffins are made by substituting some sugar and fat with sugar-free applesauce.  Adding applesauce adds more flavor, fiber, moisture and sweetness to the muffins without adding more sugar and oil.  Scratch cooking isn’t just reserved for baked goods, even the sauces and salad dressings are made in-house.  Making ranch dressing from scratch allows the kitchen to again control the sugar and oil to produce a superior product in both taste and nutrition.

The Food Bank kitchen also utilizes fresh produce whenever possible.  Menus are changed and adapted based on the fresh produce available to the kitchen.  Another way they are encouraging kids to eat their vegetables is by incorporating veggies into the main meal.  If veggies are incorporated into the meal instead of on the side, kids are more likely to give them a try.  The food has been well received by the children served at Kids Cafe sites.  Menus and meals are developed with kids in mind and staff are also receptive to feedback and make changes when menu items aren’t well received.

Scratch cooking makes sense from every angle, it is cost effective, reduces packaging and waste, is additive and preservative free, and contains fresh wholesome ingredients for better nutrition.  Give it a try in your kitchen today!

“Thank you for the awesome food that fueled our night!” –Michelle

“Thank you for all the delicious, healthy food you provided!” –Brianna

“Thank you! Keep the black bean quesadillas coming!” – Liz

Kids Cafe Fights Summer Hunger

This summer, Food Bank for Larimer County’s Kids Cafe is providing free summer meals in Fort Collins, Loveland, Wellington and Estes Park. The Food Bank plans to serve 56,000 meals during June, July and August. Every day in June the Community Kitchen produced:

  • 400 snacks for three locations,
  • 970 lunches for twelve locations,
  • and 150 breakfasts for two locations.

Summer meals give children a chance to access good meals and to try new things that are healthy and tasty.

“Chili Hoagies are a big hit” said Justin Kruger, Food Bank Executive Chef and Community Kitchen Manager, “the spicy chicken taco was very popular on Wednesday.  Our varieties of baked taquitos are all well liked.  The cinnamon sugar tortilla roll-up has been a big breakfast hit.” Justin runs kitchen operations along with Mike DeBonte.

Liz Donovan, Food Bank Programs Manager and registered dietitian, oversees the planning and production of foods every week. All meals and snacks meet or exceed USDA guidelines. Meals are prepared fresh in the Kids Cafe kitchen by volunteers under the supervision of Food Bank staff.

Read more

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May is Older Americans Month

May is Older Americans Month in the Feeding America community, which means it is a time to reflect and understand the needs of Older Americans in the United States that have food insecurity. In Colorado this issue is just as important as it is in the rest of the country and one that the Food […]

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Great Plates of Downtown 2016

NEWS RELEASE

The Downtown Fort Collins Business Association and member businesses present a vibrant dining tradition for our community this March. Dining enthusiasts will be encouraged to celebrate the authenticity, quality and diversity found only in Downtown Fort Collins, at Great Plates of Downtown 2016.  During Great Plates, thirty-seven (37) downtown restaurants will offer dinner specials at a price of $25.00 or $2.50 breakfast deals.  Attendees will be able to enjoy downtown’s during this culinary celebration while supporting the Food Bank for Larimer County.

The Downtown Fort Collins Business Association is partnering with the Food Bank for Larimer County this year to help feed people in our county.  Patrons can make contributions to support the Food Bank for Larimer County.  Every donation helps- a $1 donation is equivalent to $5 worth of food. Donations, tax and tip are not included in the Great Plates price.  For more information on the Food Bank for Larimer County or to donate online visit www.foodbanklarimer.org

Dates:              March 1 – 14, 2016

Price:              $25.00 Dinner Specials, not including tax, tip, or donation

                        $2.50 Breakfast & Dessert Specials, not including tax, tip, or donation

 

Hours: 5:00 pm to close at participating dinner restaurants

                        5:00 pm to close at participating dessert restaurants

                        Open to 10am at participating breakfast restaurants

 

Menu:  Visit DowntownFortCollins.com for Great Plates dinner, breakfast and dessert menus

 

Sponsors:

Annual Downtown Sponsors: First National Bank, Eye Center of Northern Colorado, Poudre Valley Hospital University of Colorado Health, The Group, Inc., Schrader Oil, Meritage Homes and Colorado State University.

Official Sponsors: Food Services of America, Odell Brewery, 90 Shilling, High Country Beverage and Coors Light.

Media Partners: The Fort Collins Coloradoan and Town Square Media

Contributing Sponsors: Citizen Printing and ValPak of N. Colorado

Media Contact:          

Erica Vander Sande (Marketing Manager), Downtown Fort Collins Business Association, (970) 484-6500