Every Food Bank client who walks through our doors has a unique story to tell. Some are happy. Some are sad. And many are still being written. Take a moment to learn about some of the people we serve in their own words.
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September is Hunger Action Month – a month where people all over America stand together with the Feeding America nationwide network of food banks, including the Food Bank for Larimer County, to fight hunger. It’s safe to say that this year’s Hunger Action Month will be different than in years past due to COVID-19. It’s also safe to say that your help over the next 30 days and beyond will be critical to those impacted by the pandemic.
Here are just a few actions you can take to make a difference this month:
- Join us for The Taste! That’s right, the Taste is happening this year – virtually. We have six extremely talented – and brave – chefs from some of your favorite local restaurants going head-to-head to see who can be most creative preparing a meal using ingredients found mostly at the Food Bank. Learn more at tastebenefit.org.
- Volunteer at the Food Bank for Larimer County. In response to COVID-19, we have restructured our volunteer process to ensure safety for all involved. Our volunteers are still the heart of our organization.
- Organize a fund or food drive. Community sponsored fund and food drives are vital to Food Bank operations – now more than ever. Just be sure to always practice social distancing and be safe when collecting donations and food.
- Plant It Forward by donating fresh veggies from your garden. It’s easy to donate any of your extra vegetables from your backyard harvest and community members are invited and challenged to plant an extra row in their garden.
- Advocate – Ending hunger requires an active partnership between individuals like you, service organizations, the private sector and the government. As a hunger-relief advocate, you can help us educate elected officials on the importance of hunger-relief programming.
- Last but certainly not least, donate. Every dollar donated to the Food Bank equals two meals given to somebody that is hungry in our community. You can also donate food that is always needed, especially during COVID-19.
We’ve even created a Hunger Action Month calendar so you can take action all month long. Working together and taking action we can grow a healthy, hunger-free community.
For many children throughout Larimer County, summer vacation means no school meals and the prospect of going hungry. At the Kids Cafe, the Food Bank will be serving healthy, made from scratch meals for children ages 18 and under during the summer at multiple sites throughout Larimer County.
For the second year in a row the Food Bank hosted the Stuff the Truck Turkey Donation Drive on Thursday, November 21, and for the second year in a row, the community came up big.
The Food Bank for Larimer County is gearing up for our busiest season of the year with the holidays, colder weather, and increased need for food in our community. It will take all of us to address hunger in our community and make the holiday season vibrant for everyone. But, we need your help! Consider joining us for one (or all!) of these activities:
Townsquare Cares: November 1 through Thanksgiving Day, Townsquare Media – home of 99.9 The Point and New Country 99.1 – is partnering with the food banks in Larimer and Weld counties to raise awareness about food insecurity in our community and to feed families this holiday season with Townsquare Cares. Donations can be made by texting ‘NOCO25’ to 50155 or visiting www.feednoco.org. A donation of $25 provides a holiday meal for a family of four.
51 for Fun Ferris Wheel Fundraiser: Scott James of Scott and Sadie in the Morning successfully broke his own record of 50 hours in a row on the Scheels Ferris wheel for the 51 for Fun Ferris Wheel Fundraiser. Scott’s ride began Thursday, November 14th, and ended Saturday, November 16th, raising awareness about hunger in Northern Colorado. Because of his efforts, the Food Bank for Larimer County and the Weld Food Bank raised over $16,00!
Stuff the Truck: For the second year in a row the Food Bank hosted the Stuff the Truck Turkey Donation Drive and for the second year in a row, the community came up big. So far, including private donations, PSD Turkey Roundup donations and donations received during Stuff the Truck, we have received nearly 4,000 turkeys. Truly remarkable. We still need your help. See our donation locations and hours here.
Bountiful Boards: Buy a board and help feed the hungry in our community on Saturday, December 7. Bountiful Boards continues the tradition started by Bread ‘N’ Boards where community members support the Food Bank and its hunger-relief efforts by purchasing beautiful, handmade breadboards. It’s a Fort Collins holiday tradition.
Colorado Gives Day: Save the date for December 10th, 2019, for Colorado Gives Day. It’s an annual statewide movement to celebrate and increase philanthropy in Colorado through online giving. Even better, you don’t need to wait until December 10th to give to the Food Bank – you can schedule your CGD donation here.
Volunteer: Not only is it our busiest time of year, but it’s also your busiest time of year which means we have lots of empty volunteer shifts at all Food Bank locations. If you’re looking for ways to make a big difference this holiday season, consider joining us for one of our regular shifts or a flexible evening or Saturday volunteer shift. Learn more!
Year-End Giving: As we approach the end of the year, there will be many opportunities for you to give financially to the Food Bank to help support our mission. We ask you to consider donating to help us address hunger among families, children, and seniors in our community. Donate here!
Thank you in advance for helping make this holiday season a little brighter for our neighbors in need.
A huge thank you to everyone who donated to this year’s Cans Around the Oval event and once again to CSU for going above and beyond to support the Food Bank for Larimer County and its hunger-relief efforts.
The annual event wrapped up on Wednesday, October 16, with Can Collection Day, where food donations circled the entire Oval as a visual representation of how much can be done to fight hunger when an entire community steps up and works together to collect food and funds. Once sorted, all the food will be distributed primarily to the Food Bank’s community partners, while the monetary donations will be used to fund Food Bank programs like its Fresh Food Share pantries and Nutritious Kitchen
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 Around the Oval has grown to become 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.
In the more than three decades since Cans Around the Oval began, it has evolved to become one of the largest food drives in Larimer County, resulting in more than 2 million donated meals.
Click here to learn more about Cans Around the Oval.
In May of 2018, the Food Bank for Larimer County achieved a major milestone when we moved our distribution center and business office to a new facility in Loveland. It was a landmark move for the Food Bank, allowing us to source more food with considerably more dry, cooler and freezer storage. More importantly, with the improved cooler and freezer space, it allowed us to source more of the right food – more fresh produce, fruits and proteins.
Now that we have been in the new facility for a period of time, the perception might be that we have reached our goal. In reality, the move to the new location wasn’t the end of a process, but just the beginning. We have ambitious goals around providing food to those in need, and connecting our clients with services that can improve their lives. This is the motivation behind the Feeding Our Future campaign:
Working with our agency partners to provide food, but also looking at new ways to support partner growth. We realize that solving food insecurity requires many organizations scaling to meet the need.
Looking at new food delivery models to increase access to food in areas previously underserved, like our rural communities. Our mobile pantries and food truck are examples of non-traditional ways of getting food to those in need.
Providing fresh, nutritious food to clients – yes, but also sharing tools to help them maximize the food they receive. Our newly launched Cooking Matters program partners with Share Our Strength to teach parents with limited food budgets to shop for and cook healthy meals.
Educating our clients and the community as a whole about available services, like SNAP, also known as food stamps. SNAP provides food such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains to low-income individuals and families and our goal is to educate people about the benefits of the program and how to enroll.
How You Can Help
Thanks to the support of corporations, foundations, local governments and individual donors, the Food Bank has raised more than $8 million of the $9 million goal. Now we are asking the community to help us reach our goal and to help us fund our future.
As a part of the campaign, there is a board-directed $250,000 match. This means that any donation designated for the campaign, up to $250,000, will be matched. This is a great way for your gift to do even more in the community, and we couldn’t be more grateful.
The venue was sparkling, the food was delicious, and the wine and beer were flowing as hundreds gathered for the 26th annual Taste event on Thursday, September 12. The Food Bank for Larimer County’s annual food and beverage tasting event in which guests get to sample some of Northern Colorado’s finest cuisine from locally-owned restaurants – the Taste truly is the foodie event of the year.
Hosted at the Marriott, guests and supporters flowed between the Ballroom and the Pavillion browsing tasty indulgences, chatting, sampling local craft beers and variety of wines, enjoying live music and bidding on fabulous silent auction items. This year’s people’s choice award, known as the Toast of the Taste, was Blue Agave Grill!
In all, we raised more than $80,000 at this year’s The Taste for hunger-relief programs in our community.
This year’s presenting sponsor was UCHealth. Other Enticing Entree sponsors included by Flood and Peterson, Citizen Printing, Bohemian Foundation, Clay Pot Creative, Cargill, First Bank and Flexx Productions.
Thank you to everyone who came out for this awesome event and for making it a success!
Check out more great photos from the Taste at the Food Bank’s Facebook page.
The Taste is the foodie event of the year!
It’s the Food Bank for Larimer County’s 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.
The Taste 2019 will take place on September 12th at the Fort Collins Marriott and will feature a club-style setting in the outdoor pavilion and a VIP lounge with exclusive food and drink offerings. CopperMuse Distillery will be back in the VIP lounge and joining them this year is the long-time Taste favorite, Jays Bistro. Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors, 100% of every ticket sold supports the Food Bank’s hunger-relief programs.
Please note: All attendees of the Taste must be 21 years of age or older.
Healthy. Affordable. Delicious. These three basic words help define the Cooking Matters approach to ending childhood hunger and helping families shop for and prepare healthy meals.
Cooking Matters is an initiative through Share Our Strength that works to “end childhood hunger by inspiring families to make healthy, affordable food choices.” In August, the Food Bank for Larimer County launched its Cooking Matters program offering families in need the opportunity to learn how to make their food dollars stretch further while preparing healthy meals for their families. The initial Cooking Matters classes have been held at partner locations like the Murphy Center and the Sunrise Loveland Summer Fair.
Learn more about Cooking Matters in the video below.
Whitney Helton is the Food Bank’s nutrition education coordinator and the person responsible for building and delivering the Cooking Matters curriculum. “I spent a lot of time in Denver training with the Cooking Matters team, learning what classroom topics are most effective and how to engage volunteers in this process,” Whitney said. “Cooking Matters provides a ton of program materials, tools and resources to help our families to remove the barrier of providing healthy meals. I can’t wait to get started.”
The Food Bank’s Cooking Matters program consists of two tracks: grocery store tours and classroom work. “The grocery store tours are a great source of information for our participants,” Whitney said. “During the tours, we focus on nutritional content, unit pricing and other elements that help our families get the most out of their food budgets while preparing healthy and delicious meals. Our classroom curriculum will be hands-on, giving participants the opportunity to put their skills into practice.”
Through the partnership with Share Our Strength, the Cooking Matters program will serve families from food insecure households with a priority given to those with children 5 and under. Whitney is currently working with the Food Bank’s partner agencies to register the first Cooking Matters class, with the goal of graduation by the end of the summer.
Look for more information throughout the summer on the Food Bank’s Cooking Matters program. If you are interested in volunteering for the Cooking Matters program or would like to sign up for a class, contact Whitney Helton.
Tour the Food Bank for Larimer County, or request a speaker for your group.