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Join us for the Taste Benefit 2017!

Taste Benefit 2017The Taste Benefit is an annual food and beverage tasting event providing guests with the opportunity to sample some of Northern Colorado’s finest cuisine from locally owned restaurants. In addition to great food, guests can also sample local craft beers and a variety of wines while enjoying live music and bidding on fabulous silent auction items. This year, we are mixing things up with a new date, new venue and a new look. The 2017 Taste Benefit will take place on September 14th at the Fort Collins Marriott and will feature a new club-style setting in the outdoor pavilion, a larger auction space and check-in area, and a VIP lounge with exclusive food and drink offerings. Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors, 100% of every ticket sold supports the Food Bank’s hunger-relief programs.

Well-known and delicious restaurants from around the community will join us! See a full list of restaurants here. The participating breweries and wineries round out the Taste Benefit. See the list of beverage providers here. Secure tickets to the Taste Benefit 2017 for a night filled with food, fun, and drinks!

Get tickets and join us! 

Please note: All attendees of the Taste must be 21 years of age or older.

 

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

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.

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.

Food Resource Manager Plays an Integral Role at the Food Bank

Food Resource Manager for the the Food Bank for Larimer CountyIn the simplest terms, Josh Greene is responsible for getting food for the Food Bank for Larimer County to provide to families, children, and seniors in need in our community, but his role is anything but simple.

Greene grew up in Fort Collins, attending Poudre High School, and when he decided to settle down and start a family he headed back home; he now has three children and loves living here. Josh says he got into this career by accident. 

He worked in audio production, drove a truck, and then began managing a local food distribution company’s logistics and operations. When he saw a job posting for a similar role at the Food Bank for Larimer County he knew it was a perfect match of his skills and passion. At the Food Bank, Josh is the Food Resource Manager, in charge of all sourcing and transportation of food. He spends his day working to determine what the Food Bank needs, finding available food from retail partners, local farmers, and other organizations, and managing the logistics of getting it in house. 

Josh navigates partnerships with Feeding America, local retailers, and farmers, to source donated food that the Food Bank, in turn, distributes to people in need. While the food is donated, the Food Bank does have to pay transportation fees and other associated costs. However, Josh works hard to keep costs low, in fact, on average, the Food Bank pays less than $0.15 per pound for the food it distributes. Last year, the Food Bank distributed more than 9 million pounds of food through its hunger-relief programs. More than 3 million pounds of that food came from retail donors within Larimer County. An additional 25% of food was sourced from local Colorado agricultural producers and the remainder was acquired from national partnerships based on availability. Last year, the Food Bank served more than 36,000 individuals. 

When asked about his favorite part of his job, Josh said, “I like food system development. I thoroughly enjoy being a part of building a strong local food economy, working to reclaim waste and make food accessible to everyone.”

He wishes people better understood the scale at which the Food Bank operates. “There is a misconception that we are operating out of a garage and only distributing at church pantries, but it’s more than that. If people understood the scale, they would understand the need.”

Josh relayed a story of one Food Share client saying to him, “Thank you for feeding me today.” That sentiment has stuck with him to this day and he comes to work every day intending to do just that.

Watch this short video of Josh detailing the scale at which the Food Bank for Larimer County operates.

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.