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March: National Nutrition Month – Addressing Hunger+Health

March National Nutrition Month Food Bank for Larimer County

There is an undeniable correlation between hunger and health in America. Families, children, and seniors living with food insecurity are less likely to have access to healthy and fresh foods, increasing the likelihood for nutrition-related health issues. March is National Nutrition Month and the Food Bank is committed to providing healthy and nutritious food for our guests each and every month. The Food Bank works to educate and provide nutritious food through these programs:

  • Tasting Table – At both Food Share locations, the Food Bank provides samples of healthy meal options with take-home recipes. Recipes include items from the Food Bank shelves to give guests meal planning ideas.
  • Plant it Forward – In partnership with the Gardens on Spring Creek, community members donate fresh fruit and vegetables from home gardens to the Food Bank. Click here to learn more about Plant it Forward and how you can participate.
  • Partnerships with Health Care Providers – Currently, the Food Bank is partnering with the Family Medicine Center (FMC) to offer emergency food boxes for qualifying patients. We’re working to expand this partnership and offer a full pantry this spring. We also are working with other area medical providers to offer similar services later this year.
  • Mobile Food Pantry – In partnerships with Colorado State University and the Foothills Unitarian Church, we offer accessible fresh and nutritious food to students and community members closer to where they live.

We recognize the strong link between hunger and health and are committing resources to make a positive impact on the health of the people we serve. Last year, we provided food to 36,000 individuals in Larimer County. Of the food we distributed, over 37% was fresh produce. By continuing to focus on providing nutritious food, we can make huge strides towards the overall health of our community.

“We have such a huge ability to impact public health,” stated Amy Pezzani, CEO, Food Bank for Larimer County. We are impacting the health of people because we know food insecurity leads to other chronic health conditions and when we can provide good, nutritious food, we can make an impact. I am excited to continue down that path.”

Learn more about the intersections between hunger and health by watching this short video from Hunger+Health:

To further understand the deep connection between food and health, please visit Feeding America’s Hunger+Health website.

Save the Date – Front Range Rally 2017!

Front Range Rally 2017Save the Date for the 2017 Front Range Rally – 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. 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.com. With early bird pricing through March 31st, tickets are only $30! After this special pricing period, tickets will go up to $40; $50 at the door. 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.

We still have room for additional sponsors, food trucks, and craft brewers and distillers. If you’re interested, please contact us for more information. The Front Range Rally will also be looking for volunteers beginning in April.

Click here to see a current list of participating breweries, food trucks, and get your tickets. Don’t forget to invite your friends to the Rally!

 

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.

Food Bank Provides Bridge to Future

Food Bank for Larimer County ClientAlexandra is a graduate student at Colorado State University and recently began using the Food Bank for Larimer County to help support herself and her husband. She is a former Peace Corps volunteer and has a degree in international relations; she also works part-time while writing her thesis and taking classes. Alexandra’s husband is at school 13 hours a day as a full-time student at the University of Northern Colorado. As a result of their busy school schedules and the fact they can only work part-time, Alexandra and her husband do not have any extra money at the end of the month.

With the money Alexandra’s family saves by utilizing the Food Bank, she and her husband now have a small savings account that enables them to pay larger bills such as car insurance and tuition.

She notes, “being a graduate student of nutrition, I can really appreciate all the healthy, whole foods the Food Bank provides, and I’m able to make nutritious meals throughout the week because of it.”

Once she finishes school and has a full-time job, Alexandra plans to give regularly to the Food Bank as a way to show appreciation for providing help in their time in need and to also pass on this wonderful resource to others.

Holiday Tribute Cards Provide Meaningful Gift

tribute-cardMake a donation in honor of family, friends or coworkers this holiday season and we’ll provide a colorful tribute card to let them know you care about fighting hunger. Each $15 card will provide $75 worth of  food to families in need. We will gladly accept your mailing list and mail these cards on your behalf  or can send the cards to you for you to share.

Help us give the gift of food to hungry neighbors this holiday season.

The Old Table

The Old Table

Chuck-Gill-cropped

 

By Chuck Gill, Chief Operations Officer

 

When I first started working at the Food Bank 19 years ago, we only had one table in the warehouse
for volunteers to bag USDA commodity products to distribute to our guests. It was made of solid-wood and had a sheet of vinyl flooring on the top. Its design made it easy for volunteers to bag food and to clean up.

Somewhere along the line, a volunteer named Ernie Cummins noticed that the vinyl was looking pretty ragged. He asked me if he could refinish the table. Of course I agreed, even though I thought that the table might only make it for a few more years. Despite that, Ernie wanted to save it.

Recently, Ernie and Peter Lederer, another Monday morning volunteer, asked if they could refinish it a second time. Here is the result. After more than 19 years, it still does its job, very well I might add.

Many interesting conversations, lively debates and friendships have formed around that table. If it could only tell some stories it would have a few tales to tell. Thanks to Ernie and Peter it lives on.