Featured Posts that will display on the homepage

THANK YOU for Your Plant it Forward Support

Plant it Forward As the summer wraps up, we just wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who has volunteered, advocated, and donated to our Plant it Forward program. ​Plant It Forward, a partnership between the Gardens on Spring Creek and the Food Bank for Larimer County, invites all gardeners to plant an extra row to fight hunger in our community. When the garden matures, we invite you to share your bounty with children, families, and seniors in need of food assistance and help end hunger.

Many community members stepped up to fight hunger with their gardens, including Dr. J., a true Plant it Forward champion, who donated over 4,000 poundsPlant it Forward to our program this year alone. He has been donating his entire garden’s proceeds for 6 years, but this is his biggest donation so far. Help us thank Dr. J. and the many other wonderful participants who worked tirelessly to fight hunger from the ground up!

This year, we had an ambitious goal of raising 65,000 pounds of fresh, local food. We haven’t quite reached that mark, but we’re inviting local gardeners to donate any late squash, zucchini, or pumpkins they may have to our program.

As you’re picking pumpkins for Halloween season, please consider grabbing an extra as many of the youngest Food Bank guests do not have the luxury of carving pumpkins this time of year.

As you begin to plan your 2018 gardens, don’t forget to plant an extra row or two for the Food Bank for Larimer County. We’d love to have your extras! Sign up for our email newsletter to stay in touch!

 

 

Thanks to All Who Made the Taste Benefit 2017 a Success

Cacciatore at Heller's Kitchen accepts the Toast of the Taste Award.Another Taste Benefit is in the books and by all accounts it was a fantastic event. Once again, restaurants, beverage companies, community volunteers and supporters came out in huge numbers to support the Food Bank for Larimer County in its fight against hunger.

Hundreds of supporters packed the Marriott Fort Collins for the Taste Benefit 2017 to sample delicious food and beverage from some of the area’s top restaurants, breweries and wineries. This year was the 24th year for the Taste Benefit, widely considered the “foodie” event of the year in Fort Collins, with 100% of the proceeds benefitting the Food Bank for Larimer County.

This was the first year the Food Bank hosted the event at the Marriott Fort Collins. The new location allowed guests to sample food and beverage in the main Ballroom and out in the Pavilion, an indoor/outdoor club-style setting. Music provided by Mark Sloniker and DJ Pirate helped set the festive tone of the evening. Ample space and plenty of parking were two simple, but important changes, that helped make the night a success.

Congratulations to Cacciatore at Heller’s Kitchen, voted Toast of the Taste by attendees. A special thank you to all our sponsors, restaurants, beverage purveyors,Taste Benefit 2017 volunteers and staff who put in long hours to make this year’s Taste Benefit one of the best ever! For complete details on all who participated in the event, visit the Taste Benefit online. And visit the Food bank’s Facebook page to check out photos from the event.

September is Hunger Action Month and the Taste Benefit marks the halfway point in our effort to raise awareness about those in need. Here are a few things YOU can do to take action during Hunger Action Month.

1) Donate; $1 = $5 worth of food.
2) Volunteer at the Food Bank.
3) Follow us, share us and love us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram #fblc.
4) Plant It Forward! Drop off your extra garden produce at the Food Bank.
5) Start your own fundraising campaign; donate your wedding or birthday or other special occasion.

Cans Around the Oval 2017

cans around the oval imageCans Around the Oval is a Colorado State University tradition, where students, faculty, and staff partner with community members, local media, and area businesses to raise awareness about the issue of hunger, as well as raise food and monetary donations. This event is Larimer County’s Largest single-day Food Drive and benefits The Food Bank for Larimer County. This year, we’re celebrating an incredible 31 years of Cans Around the Oval!

Cans began in 1986 with one graduate student, Victoria Keller. As manager of the original student engagement office, Keller read a journalism student’s proposal of a canned food drive, which sparked the fire for Cans Around the Oval. Keller, wanting to pursue the proposal, contacted the Food Bank’s then Director, Sandy Bowden, who coined the name Cans Around the Oval. Although Sandy was too busy to be involved that first year, Keller and two other students decided to take on the efforts of orchestrating Cans Around the Oval.

Cans started with one student wanting to make a difference; 31 years later over 16,000 people from the Colorado State University campus and local community are continuing the tradition and making it even more impactful every single year. Despite such encouraging gains, hunger frequently strikes the most vulnerable people in our communities, especially children. 1 in 5 kids in our community are not receiving enough food to meet their daily nutritional needs. These numbers serve to highlight how much this program is still needed today. Cans Around the Oval’s growth is truly inspiring. An idea that was sparked from a class assignment has now become part of Colorado State University’s history. One person can change people’s lives and every year thousands of people come to the Oval to do just that.

In alignment with September’s Hunger Action Month and CSU’s homecoming, Cans takes place over a month-long period. Students, staff, faculty, and other participants compete to collect the most cans of food. On October 11, students work together to create the most interesting sculptures and art from cans in the middle of campus as part of the CANstruction event. The final collection day is October 18, when cans are counted and placed along the Colorado State University Oval.

Important Cans Dates:

Cans Around the Oval Kick Off Day – September 14, 2017
Cans Around the Oval CANStruction – October 11, 2017
Cans Around the Oval Collection Day – October 18, 2017

Click here to learn more about Cans Around the Oval and get involved!

Meet Heather: Chief Development Officer, Food Bank for Larimer County

The memory of hearing a little boy at the Food Bank ask his mom, ‘Is today a day we get to eat?’, sticks out in Heather Buoniconti’s mind as one of the most pivotal moments in her time at the Food Bank. Having young boys herself, she mentioned, “I can’t even think about it without tearing up a little bit,” she recounted; “all those years ago and I can still picture his face; it hit so close to home.”

Heather, the Chief Development Officer at the Food Bank for Larimer County, has been a dedicated staff member for nearly 12 years, overseeing all the fundraising and communication efforts of the organization. She loves coming to work every day knowing she’s making a difference in the lives of the hungry in our community.

She appreciates that everyone on the team is, “Extremely passionate about our mission and how hard we all work together towards a common goal.” Heather knows the collaboration of the Food Bank staff, the community at-large, volunteers, and donors make it, “A great place to be a part of.”

Heather began her career at the American Cancer Society, completing a year-long cancer fundraising walk with her husband through 15 states. Shortly after, a relocation to Northern Colorado led her to the Food Bank and as they say, ‘The rest is history!’

Her day-to-day at the Food Bank is always different, but the heart of her role is connections and relationships. “I spend my time talking to donors, volunteers, and staff in order to determine how they want to be a part of the Food Bank and what we’re doing.” Heather is always looking for new and innovative ways to help more people in our community.

She wishes people knew that hunger can happen to anyone. “It could easily be your teacher, neighbor, friend, or even family member that we’re serving.” The Food Bank fills a tremendous role in our community, something that isn’t lost on Heather or her teammates.

Outside of work, Heather loves spending time with her family – husband and two sons. The Buonicontis love being outside camping, hiking, and traveling as much as they can. She loves to read and enjoys attending the many Food Bank outreach events.

September is Hunger Action Month

Hunger Action MonthWhat is Hunger Action Month?

Hunger exists in every county in the U.S., affecting 48 million Americans including 15 million children. Food Bank for Larimer County along with the Feeding America nationwide network of food banks believes that hunger IS solvable and we are leading the fight to end it. We are asking everyone in America to take action to fight hunger in their community, all month long.

Hunger Action Month™ is your opportunity to get involved and make a lasting impact.

  • Whether it’s by activating, advocating, donating or volunteering, you can find a way to make a difference this September!

Hunger Action Month is an opportunity for YOU to help end hunger in our community!

  • In Larimer County 14% of residents, live at or below the federal poverty guideline. In 2015, we provided enough food for 7.42 million meals, but we still have work to do to make sure no one in our community is hungry. Your support is critical to helping us fight hunger in Larimer County!

Top 10 Ways to Take Action during Hunger Action Month

1) Donate; $1 = $5 worth of food.

2) Take a tour the Food Bank. Or Invite a Food Bank staff member to speak to your office, church group or civic organization.

3) Volunteer at the Food Bank.

4) Join us for the Taste Benefit 2017 in support of the Food Bank for Larimer County.

5) Follow us, share us and love us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram #fblc.

6) Wear orange on Thursday, September 8 to help raise hunger awareness.

7) Participate in the Empty Plate Campaign (See Below)

8) Plant It Forward! Drop off your extra garden produce at the Food Bank.

9) Start your own fundraising campaign; donate your wedding or birthday or other special occasion. Visit www.foodbanklarimer.org for details.

10) Join our Feeding Us Forward Giving Community as a monthly donor. Just $5 a month can provide $300 worth of food to a neighbor in need.

What Can’t You Do on an Empty Stomach?

For the nearly 43,000 Larimer County residents who face hunger, an empty stomach makes it difficult to reach their full potential. Without fuel and nutrition, people – kids especially – do not have the energy to focus, learn, grow and ultimately, succeed. This month, we are asking you to help raise awareness with our Empty Plate campaign. Whether through a simple tweet, Facebook post or a conversation with friends and family, please help us spread the word about the realities of trying to “run on empty.”

Hunger Action Month

Kids Cafe Summer Schedule

Food TruckMore than one in three students in Larimer County schools qualifies for free or reduced lunch. For these children, summer vacation means no school meals and the prospect of going hungry. Food Bank for Larimer County is committed to ending childhood hunger through a variety of programs, including Kids Cafe.

This summer, the Food Bank will serve healthy, made from scratch meals for children ages 5-18 at thirteen sites throughout Larimer County. Through the Kids Cafe program, the Food Bank expects to serve 55,000 meals and 20,000 snacks this summer. On average, the program will provide a record-setting 1,400 meals per day.

“Even if hunger is temporary, its impact can last a lifetime,” said Liz Donovan, Nutrition and Programs Manager, Food Bank for Larimer County. “Children who miss breakfast and lunch arFood Trucke more susceptible to health and wellness issues. Hunger can also impact academic success and behavior. Through our Kids Cafe program, we’re working hard to give more kids the nourishment they need to thrive.”

Thanks to a generous $50,000 grant from Northern Colorado Unify, the Food Bank for will be expanding its Kids Cafe’s capabilities to include Food Truck service at three CARE Housing communities in Fort Collins. Community Kitchen Manager, Justin Kruger, worked with a local company to retrofit a used truck to meet the Food Bank’s specific needs. “I’m really excited about the options the new truck provides us,” said Kruger. “We know that there are thousands of kids who receive free lunch during the school year who don’t have a consistent source for meals during the summer,” said Kruger. “Our new food truck will go a long way towards helping us feed more kids in the summer.”

The Kids Cafe  will be at the following locations this summer:

SITE LOCATIONDATESTIMESELIGIBILITY
CARE Housing*

1303 W. Swallow Rd.

Monday – Friday

June 12 – August 4

11-11:30am (Lunch)Open to All
CARE Housing*

626 Quaking Aspen Dr.

Monday – Friday

June 12 – August 4

12:30-1pm (Lunch)Open to All
CARE Housing*

400 Butch Cassidy Dr.

Monday – Friday

June 12 – August 4

11:45am-12:15pm (Lunch)Open to All
Linton Elementary

4100 Caribou Dr.

Monday – Thursday

June 5 – August 4

9-9:30am (Breakfast)

11:30am-12:30pm (Lunch)

Enrolled

Students Only

Lincoln Middle School

1600 Lancer Dr.

Monday – Thursday

June 5 – August 4

9-9:30am (Breakfast)

11:30am-12:30pm (Lunch)

Enrolled

Students Only

Boys & Girls Clubs – Fort Collins

1608 Lancer Dr.

Monday – Friday

June 5 – August 11

8:30-9am (Breakfast)

11:30am – 12:15pm (Lunch)

Members Only
Boys & Girls Clubs – Wellington

3815 W. Harrison Ave.

Monday – Friday

June 5 – August 11

12-1pm (Lunch)

2-3pm (Snack)

Members Only
Boys & Girls Clubs – Loveland

2500 E. 1st St.

Monday – Friday

June 5 – August 11

12-12:30pm (Lunch)

2:30-3pm (Snack)

Members Only
Boys & Girls Clubs – Estes Park

1505 Brodie Ave.

Monday – Friday

June 5 – August 4

11:30-12:30pm (Lunch)

3-4pm (Snack)

Members Only
The Matthews House

400 S. Link Ln.

Tuesday – Thursday

June 6 – August 3

12-1pm (Lunch)Open Enrollment
Base Camp

2130 W. Horsetooth Rd.

Monday – Friday

June 1 – August 11

11am-12:30pm (Lunch)

3-4pm (Snack)

Enrolled

Students Only

Lago Vista

420 E. 57th St.

Tuesday – Thursday

May 30 – July 27

9-10:15am (Snack)

11:30am-12pm(Lunch)

Residents Only
Maple Terrace

574 E. 23rd St.

Tuesday, Thursday

June 5 – July 28

12-1pm (Lunch)Residents Only

Click here to learn more about our childhood hunger initiatives and consider supporting our summer meal program and the Food Truck by donating to the Food Bank for Larimer County.

Why Sharon Plants it Forward

Plant it Forward - Fort Collins, COHaving most recently worked in the Social Sustainability Department for the City of Fort Collins, Sharon has been involved in the Plant it Forward program from the very beginning and loves working on collaborative events and projects. She mentions, “I really like that people can participate and help a really good nonprofit without a lot of extra work.”

Plant it Forward is a partnership between the Gardens on Spring Creek and the Food Bank for Larimer County. All gardeners are invited to plant an extra row to fight hunger in our community. Share your bounty with children, families, and seniors in need of food assistance and help end hunger.

Read more

Volunteer Spotlight: Cheryl Schmidt

Food Bank for Larimer county VolunteerCheryl Schmidt has been a volunteer at the Food Bank for almost four years, putting in just over 400 hours so far. She began serving at the Food Bank for Larimer County when she moved to Fort Collins in 2013 and joined the Fort Collins Newcomers Club. This group volunteers collectively at the Food Bank once a month and Cheryl took this service opportunity to heart. Quickly thereafter, she started to contribute time outside the group by working in the Kid’s Cafe and later managing the Newcomers group. Recently, she began working two mornings a week in the Food Bank main office, as well.

When she’s volunteering at the Food Bank she does anything from stuffing envelopes, as pictured here, or baking muffins and packing snacks for kids. She mentioned she loves it all and is just happy to help.

Cheryl lived in the mountains prior to calling the Front Range home. She volunteered at the local food bank which offered mostly canned goods that guests could only pick up four times a year. Being a foodie herself, Cheryl notes, “I have soft spot for people who are hungry. So working at the Food Bank is a good fit for me, particularly the Kid’s Cafe because I love what they do and offer as far as feeding kids; it’s really just so impressive.”

She credits the mission of the Food Bank as her drive for continuing to volunteer. She loves, “Being able to contribute to a cause that I feel strongly about. Knowing all these kids are going to get to eat, have a snack; they’re not going to go home hungry.” That’s her reward for her hard work and she knows that part makes a big difference in the lives of children, seniors, and families living in hunger in our community.

Cheryl encourages everyone to take advantage of the free Food Bank tours, allowing them to, “See the operations in person to get an overview of what the Food Bank does. It’s huge! I just wish more people knew what the Food Bank does for our community.”

She concluded by saying, “I just love it, so glad I’m here to help!” The Food Bank is so thankful for the support of Cheryl and the thousands of other volunteers that lend a hand annually to help us achieve our mission of a hunger-free Larimer County.

Food Bank Support Eases Tough Choices for Seniors in Our Community

Food Bank for Larimer County Aids Seniors in NeedLupe Gonzalez, a 71-year-old senior and Fort Collins resident, moved here in 1985 with her three children from Wyoming. She was a single mother working three jobs to make ends meet, including translating for Spanish-speaking patients at the hospital. Lupe worked hard and was proud to give her children a better childhood than she had.

Lupe worked her way up and earned medical terminology degree from LCCC and perfected her spoken and written Spanish skills to continue translating. She taught at an education center and helped others learn medical terminology and translation skills. During those years, Lupe was proud to be self-sufficient. “I was doing good with a good car and everything.”

In 2001, she suffered a stroke, ending her earning years. It took Lupe months to recover, eventually regaining the ability to speak. However, the stroke wiped out areas of her memory, including medical terminology and her translating abilities. It took Lupe three years to qualify for disability, but only three months to run through her savings.

Food Bank for Larimer county helps feed seniors in needIn 2004, a friend of Lupe’s suggested she attend the VOA senior meal program and she’s been a regular ever since. Lupe described it by saying, “I got a lot of friends here. I get to go places because they take us here and there. The food, the meals are good, too.”

Lupe makes ends meet with meals at the senior lunch program and with the help of the Food Bank for Larimer County. Twice a week she helps prepare and serve senior meals at the Northside Aztlan Center in Fort Collins, Colorado. In trade for volunteering, Lupe’s meals are free and there are often leftovers to bring home. She enjoys the social aspect of the meal time, including the competitive bingo games.

Lupe also frequents the Food Bank.  “The Food Bank really helps me,” Lupe says.  She relies on the Food Bank as much as twice a week as long as she’s not snowed in and has transportation.

With the help of the Food Bank for Larimer County and the senior meal program, Lupe worries less about putting food on the table. She does not have to make tough choices between food and paying her other expenses including housing, medicine, and transportation.

Monthly Donations Have a Big Impact Over Time

Monthly Donations to the Food Bank for Larimer County

Making monthly donations to the Food Bank for Larimer County is a great way to support families, seniors, and children in need in our community. As a Stability Partner of the Food Bank, your donations over time will add up to have a big impact on those living with food insecurity. Signing up for monthly donations makes it is easier to fit your donations into your budget. Plus, our system is automated, meaning you just have to set it up once!

Every gift, no matter how large or small makes a difference to those who face hunger. Thanks to a nationwide network of food donors and our efficient operations, for every $1 you donate, we can provide $5 worth of food to a family in need. As a Stability Partner, your monthly donation sustains our mission and fosters our ability to provide a consistent source of nutrition for our clients. By making a regular contribution, at any level, you will help us stabilize the lives of the people we serve. When families worry less about having enough to eat, they can focus their energies and resources on their futures.

In thanks and recognition for your gift, Stability Partners receive:

  • Invitation to annual reception
  • Personalized year-end impact statement

When you donate to the Food Bank for Larimer County, $0.96 of every dollar donated is used for hunger relief initiatives and more than 36,000 individuals will be served this year alone. Learn more about the impact monthly donations will have on those in need in our community by clicking here.

All donations to the Food Bank for Larimer County are tax-deductible and easy to make. Donate safely through our online donation system here or donate over the phone with a credit card by calling us at 970.493.4477. Donations can also be made by mailing your gift to Food Bank for Larimer County, 1301 Blue Spruce Dr., Fort Collins, CO 80524.