Our Humble Beginning

After conducting a survey in 1983, VISTA volunteer, Sandy Bowden verified a need for an efficient, centralized food collection and distribution resource that would avoid duplication of effort. She looked around the state to learn how other communities were serving the food needs of low-income individuals and determined that Larimer County needed a Food Bank. In 1984, under Sandy’s leadership, the Food Bank for Larimer County opened its doors on East Oak Street.  During the first month of operation, Sandy and her volunteers were proud to provide 3,800 pounds of food to individuals and families in need. In those days, food came primarily from rotating food drives between different houses of worship. In the first 12 months, the Food Bank distributed 56,836 pounds of food. Today, the Food Bank distributes nearly 9 million pounds of food per year.


VISTA volunteer, Sandy Bowden, completes survey to analyze the food needs of low income and senior residents of Larimer County. Determines need for a centralized location for donated food.


Imagine trying to operate a Food Bank out of 900 square feet of space – with only one phone, a chair, and a card table. Sandy Bowden didn’t just imagine it, she did it.

1984 – 1986

The early years were difficult. Operating from a small space with little storage – Sandy, her family, and a cadre of volunteers would sometimes have to carry boxes of food down a dark flight of stairs to store it and then carry it back up for distribution. Food in those days came primarily from rotating food drives between different houses of worship.


Food Bank joins America’s Second Harvest, known today as Feeding America.


Thanks to the vision of one donor and board member, Food Bank purchases warehouse facility at 1301 Blue Spruce to accommodate f future growth. At the time, the space was much more than needed, but areas were rented out as a source of income.

First Cans Around the Oval collects 5,318 dry goods and 3,313 cans.


Food Bank distributes 1,000,000 pounds for the first time. Food Bank begins accepting prepared foods CSU and PVH. This program is still in operation.


New 30×40 foot freezer installed to store increasing amounts of donated frozen foods.


Food Bank is inundated with calls for help from the Red Cross to assist over 300 families impacted by the Spring Creek flood.


New repack room and commercial kitchen opens allowing bulk foods to be packaged in client-sized portions.


After completion of a capital campaign raising $850,000, employees moved into new offices in the front of the building and our Food Share program moved to the next level of service with a warehouse renovation to specifically dedicate space for the program.


The Food Bank launches the Kids Cafe program at four sites in Larimer County.


Food Share program expands into Loveland location.


After completion of a $2.2 million dollar capital campaign, the Food Bank expands its southern Larimer County reach by opening a larger, more efficient Food Share pantry in Loveland at 2600 N. Lincoln Avenue.


Food Bank distributes a record-breaking 8.7 million pounds of food to reach 100,000,000 pounds distributed since opening in 1984.


Food Bank launches 5-Year Strategic Plan and identifies 4 Strategic Priorities: 1) FEED 2) LEAD 3) NOURISH 4) STRENGTHEN.


After a comprehensive research study, Food Bank sets goal to provide food for 12.2 million meals annually by 2035.