Help us raise 50K in 50 Hours!

50K in 50 Hours Match Campaign Donation for the Food Bank for Larimer countyTwo brothers have given us the chance to raise $50k in 50 hours. Every $1 raised between now and midnight on December 31st, will be matched up to $25,000 – for a total of $50,000!

We estimate 200 new families will begin using the Food Bank for Larimer County each month in 2017; it will take just over $50,000 to feed these families this year.

Meaning, with the money we raise through this match campaign, the Food Bank will be able to feed all of these new families who come through our doors in 2017.

By providing healthy, fresh, and nutritious food to the families, children, and seniors in our community in need, we can give them a fresh start and help make 2017 a better year.

Your generous support of the the Food Bank for Larimer County will be matched dollar for dollar, leveraging all of our ability to have a collective impact. Your donation will help ensure we are able to feed any new family who finds themselves in the position of needing help in 2017 and the $50k raised in 50 hours will provide $250,000 worth of food to hungry families, children, and seniors in our community.

In order to meet this huge goal, we are going to need your help! The match is only good for 50 hours and will conclude at midnight on December 31, 2016. Please help us spread the word by sharing this campaign; it’s going to take all of us to raise $50k in 50 hours! Please help share this campaign and use the hashtag #50kin50hrs.

Donate to our $50k in 50 Hours fundraiser by clicking here.

A Small Idea Leaves a Huge Impact in it’s 20 Year Legacy!

Empty Bowls 20th Anniversary Food Bank for Larimer County

Mike McCarthy, a Lopez Elementary School art teacher, saw a small article in the local newspaper, The Coloradoan, about the Spring Creek Flood. The article detailed how this major catastrophe drained resources from local agencies such as the Food Bank for Larimer County.

In an effort to help, McCarthy decided to apply for an E3 Grant through the Community Foundation for a total of only $275.00 along with two other art teachers and a parent of one of his students. This group was awarded the grant and hosted the first Empty Bowls event at Lopez elementary school. About 40 people attended the first event and helped raise $2,000.

Since then, McCarthy has spent the last 20 years volunteering his time for this event. He has lent a hand for nearly every aspect, including finding local art teachers to participate, coordinating local restaurant involvement, and gathering donations for the silent auction. Mike is still involved to this day.

When asked, Mike said he thought the biggest impact the 20 years of Empty Bowls has had is the increased awareness of hunger in our community and the chance to build future donors to the Food Bank. “When elementary students are exposed to idea of hunger and food insecurity, it builds awareness and teaches them even though they are young, they can make a difference, take action, and help others in need.” It gives them the chance to grow up with an appreciation for social action which, “makes them more likely to continue that spirit into adulthood.”

He remembered one event in the early years at Poudre High School. The art teacher was hosting the annual Bowl-a-Thon in order to create the ceramic bowls in class that would be donated to the upcoming Empty Bowls. One student stopped the class and asked to speak. She thanked everyone for participating and gave the testimonial that her family relies on food from the Food Bank to survive. Mike recalled thinking during her speech, “When we make these bowls, we aren’t helping other people, it’s us.” He went on to say as a result of her story, “It came full circle right there. It really snapped things into focus and she taught me a couple things that day.”

McCarthy is very proud of the twenty year history of the Empty Bowls event. He is thrilled that people continue to respond and support the event after all these years. He said, “I’m proud that it’s become an important and major fundraiser for the Food Bank; it started out as just a small school project and has become so much more than I could have hoped.”

We hope you will join us for this special milestone of 20 years of Empty Bowls on February 2, 2017 at the Hilton Fort Collins. We will be celebrating with a VIP Artist Reception, a live auction clay throwing, and a special program from Amy Pezzani, CEO of the Food Bank. Learn more about this event and purchase your tickets to Empty Bowls event here.

Food Bank Use Comes Full Circle

cowgirl4-1When Sandy Beardsley, mother of three children, found herself divorced, living in Indiana, away from her family, with no financial support, she had to think fast about how she would be able to feed herself and her kids. Working off the advice of a friend who said, “you’re a good cook, why don’t you try catering,” that’s exactly what she did.

Sandy got a cooler and began making simple bologna sandwiches with side dishes to sell to mill workers at the steel mills outside Chicago. During this time, Sandy frequented the Food Bank in Indiana to help makes ends meet for her family.

With the little money she made from her lunch route and the cost savings the Food Bank provided, Sandy eventually scraped together enough money to move back to Colorado to be near her family. She lived with her mother for the first year and began utilizing the Food Bank for Larimer County’s services. She worked hard and saved where she could in order to pull her family out of the need for the Food Bank.

cowgirl3Cowgirl Catering, working all over Northern Colorado. The company has two catering vans and is in the process of building a commercial kitchen. Sandy has cooked for many well-known bands at the Greeley Stampede and many big events in our community including CSU Equine Events, weddings, and parties. Cowgirl Catering is a well-known catering business in this region of Colorado.

If fact, Cowgirl Catering recently catered a volunteer recognition event for the Food Bank for Larimer County. She made a Seven Layer Bean Dip, Turkey Roll Ups, and many other great dishes for the event and guests were very impressed with the food offerings.

When asked about the Food Bank, Sandy commented, “The Food Bank helped keep the cost of raising my family down, so I could eek my way along. It took me a long time to save enough to move and get back on my feet.”

cowgirl2“I couldn’t have done it without the Food Bank. I fed my family everyday for 5 years, 3 years in Indiana and 2 more in Colorado.” Without the Food Bank, “I couldn’t have even made any money. Using their services allowed me to build my business because I didn’t have to worry about food as much.”

Sandy went on to say, she, in-part, credits the success of Cowgirl Catering to the Food Bank. “I have a successful business because it gave me that leg up.”

By reducing her family’s food insecurity, Sandy was able to focus her talents and energy towards building a successful catering company with her daughter; a small-business that now supports them well.

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.


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 Partners with Neighbor to Neighbor to Accomplish More

Neighbor 2 Neighbor and Food Bank PartnershipNeighbor to Neighbor (N2N) is a local, Larimer County nonprofit working towards affordable housing for the residents of Northern Colorado. Their goal is to help individuals move from homelessness to homeownership by providing sustainable housing, supportive services, and education to the Larimer County community. Their various programs do many things to help our community including assisting over 1,000 people apply for and receive down payment assistance, first month’s rent and deposit assistance, and emergency home funding.

Stephanie Alley is the Resident Services Coordinator, specializing in welcoming new residents, evaluating needs, and helping them achieve their personal goals. She and her team provide a wide variety of classes and services to the N2N residents including a youth entrepreneur program that teaches N2N children that they have earning potential and can break the cycle of poverty. Children create art which is turned into greeting cards that are sold at gift shops in Fort Collins. The proceeds go directly into the children’s own bank account to help them learn the ins and outs of business.

Alley visits the Food Bank for Larimer County every morning to pick up snacks, juice boxes, fruit, and whatever else is available. She takes the food back to her office at Neighbor to Neighbor where residents live in a 68 unit complex. She hands the food and snacks out to the kids as they leave for school. Often families living at the N2N complex do not have enough extra food to send their kids to school with something for snack time; they already rely on the free and reduced food programs and without N2N and the Food Bank’s partnership, these children likely spend a good part of the day hungry.

When asked what her favorite part of the job is, Alley replied, “The kiddos. I love the kids, they are great humans. I just love seeing what they already hope to be in the future. They don’t see themselves as low income; they have the same hopes and dreams as all the other kids do. They are so inspirational and I love that I get to work with them.”

Neighbor to Neighbor and Food Bank PartnershipThe Food Bank and N2N’s partnership came full circle this summer when Neighbor to Neighbor participated in the Plant it Forward program by growing extra produce in the N2N community garden to donate back the Food Bank. Alley commented on the program by saying, “it’s a good way for us to give back because our clients use the Food Bank and I get snacks for the kids, so the food comes back around.”

By working with and partnering with other great area organizations such as Neighbor to Neighbor, we are better able to address the many needs of our friends and neighbors in our community.

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.

Help us raise $100,000 on Colorado Gives Day

fb-blogThe 7th Annual Colorado Gives Day is coming up on December 6th and we need your help in a big way!

Colorado Gives Day is a statewide movement designed to increase philanthropy through online donations by encouraging the entire state to work together to fund vital nonprofits in our communities.

Our goal for Colorado Gives day is to raise $100,000 in one day, December 6th; we will need your help to do this. Easy ways you can join the movement include:

  • Schedule your donation to the Food Bank for Larimer County in advance.
  • Donate here on December 6th.
  • Share our social posts regarding Colorado Gives Day with your friends and family to increase awareness.
  • Join our email newsletter list, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram to stay up-to-date and follow our progress on Colorado Gives Day.

On Colorado Gives Day, please give the perfect gift! It will feed our friends and neighbors in the community this holiday season and provide health, security, hope, comfort, and stability to those in need.

Learn more about the Food Bank’s Colorado Gives Day campaign here and please consider giving the perfect gift on December 6th

.Colorado Gives Day

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.

11th Annual Bread N Boards

Join us for the 11th Annual Bread N Boards fundraiser. It’s a community favorite and one of the most anticipated events of the year. Come for the boards, the fun, and help the Food Bank!

Bread N Boards 2016bnb-banner2014_lr
Saturday, December 3
9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Sears Trostel Lumber & Millwork
1500 Riverside Ave., Fort Collins

Come early…the boards go fast!

Cutting Boards Make Great Gifts

With a donation of $30, take your pick from hundreds of beautiful hardwood cutting boards created by Sears Trostel employees and sanded by community volunteers. You’ll find many shapes and sizes to choose from, including some new ones this year. With the holiday season upon us, you may want to take home more than one!

Each board comes with a certificate for a FREE loaf of Great Harvest bread, and a bottle of finishing oil. The Food Bank provides color gift tags to include with gift purchases. Put in your bids at the Signature Board Silent Auction where you’ll find one-of-a-kind handcrafted boards donated by local artisans. Auction closings are at 9:30, 10:00 and 10:30 a.m. John Boos & Co. gourmet cutting boards will be up for auction, along with some new, non-wood goodies, too.

As you peruse the wide selection of boards, enjoy bread samples from Great Harvest Bread Co. and music by local musicians. Stop by the New Belgium Brewing table to get silk screened dishtowels made especially for the event.

New Supporters

New local business supporters are on-board this year! Thanks to Downtown Ace HardwareThe CupboardDeli Works, Nuance Chocolate, and Spoons for their contributions to the silent auction. Look for the Bread N Boards displays at each store location.

Bank of America 2 to 1 Match

Give A Meal sliderFor every $1 donated, now through the end of the year, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation will donate $2 to support Feeding America and its network of food banks, up to $1.5 million.  Last year we were able to provide over 100,000 meals through the Give A Meal program and hope to help provide even more meals this year.

As we approach the holiday season, we are reminded of the progress that’s been made to help individuals struggling with hunger here in Larimer County. Bank of America supports hunger relief as part of our broader commitment to help put people in need on a path towards success.  Food security is a fundamental first step toward economic mobility and empowerment, which is why, for the 5th consecutive year, we are partnering with Feeding America and its network of 200 member food banks to support the Give A Meal program.

Over the past year, we have seen the need among individuals in Larimer County, connecting nearly 36,000 neighbors in need to healthy food.  However, this work is not complete. The reality is that there are still many individuals and families in our community who struggle to put food on the table and face the difficult choice between food and paying bills such as heating or other utilities.

Without consistent access to nutrient-rich food, it’s impossible for individuals and families to thrive, which could be damaging to the community in the long run. As the winter season is on its way, there are simple things you can do to support families who face hunger  in our  community.  One option is to donate to the Give A Meal program, a Feeding America initiative supported by Bank of America that extends the impact of individual donations.

To donate to Give A Meal, visit Even if you can’t donate, sharing the Give A Meal link via Twitter or Facebook helps raise awareness about the nearly 36,000 struggling with hunger in our community. Let’s make sure that Larimer County families don’t have to make painful choices between food and other basic necessities. Their success impacts our community’s ability to thrive, and we all have an opportunity to ensure that families in need are connected to resources that will put them on a path towards success.