Food Bank Launches Cooking Matters Class

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.”

Cooking Matters class at Sunrise Loveland Summer Fair

Guests learn about the different food groups at a mock “grocery store” at the Sunrise Loveland Summer Fair.

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.

A Night to Remember at this Year’s Summer Soiree


The weather was beautiful, the music was lively, and the brews were cold as hundreds gathered to celebrate the Food Bank’s first anniversary in our new home and have a little summer fun all to support the work of the Food Bank for Larimer County. Guests and supporters congregated at the distribution center located at 5706 Wright Drive, in Loveland, under the summer sky to enjoy live music from The BurroughsCoyote Gold margaritas, and tasty local brews from Grimm Brothers Brewhouse and Verboten Brewing. They were also able to purchase delicious food from Sweaty Moose, Liquid N2 ice cream, and Mile High Lobster Shack food trucks.

This year’s event was presented by Eide Bailly and sponsored by Flood and Peterson, Citizen Printing, The Bohemian Foundation, Flexx Productions, and Elevations Credit Union.

Thank you to everyone who came out for this awesome event!


Kids Cafe summer meal food truck

Kids Cafe Summer Schedule 2019

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.

Plant it Forward with the Food Bank

Plant it Forward LogoSpring has sprung and with it comes an easy way for you to support the Food Bank for Larimer County. The Food Bank encourages you to “Plant It Forward” to increase local produce donations from backyard gardeners and local farms.

All community members are invited and challenged to plant an extra row in their garden! When your crop is ready, drop it off at either the Food Bank for Larimer County or the Gardens on Spring Creek. No donation is too small!

In 2018, local gardeners donated more than 45,000 pounds of fresh produce to help us feed the hungry with fresh, locally raised produce. Click here to learn more about how Plant it Foward Works and how you can get involved. Be sure to tell your friends and fellow gardeners about Plant it Foward and encourage them to plant additional rows, too.

For people living with food insecurity, purchasing healthy, fresh, and nutritious food is often out of reach due to cost. By donating the extras from your garden, you’ll help the Food Bank for Larimer County provide our guests with healthy options. We know fresh food provides health benefits, according to the USDA, “people who eat more vegetables and fruits as part of an overall healthy diet are likely to have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases.” Your donation will help feed neighbors in need leading to a healthier and more vibrant community for all.

Drop Off Details

Fort Collins Food Bank
1301 Blue Spruce Dr.
Fort Collins, CO
Monday-Friday, noon-6 pm

Loveland Food Bank
2600 N. Lincoln Ave.
Loveland, CO
Tuesday-Saturday, 9 am-2 pm

Food Bank HQ and Distribution Center
5706 Wright Dr.
Loveland, CO
Monday-Friday, 8 am-4 pm

Gardens on Spring Creek
2145 Centre Avenue
Saturday 9 am-4 pm; Sunday Noon-5 pm

This year, plant an extra row or two and plan to donate the proceeds to the Food Bank for Larimer County!

Great Plates Thank You

Great Plates of Downtown Fort Collins 2019 is a Big Success

A record 35 restaurants and 3 ice cream shops came together in support of the Food Bank for this year’s event. The 14th Annual Great Plates lived up to its name, with all 38 establishments offering great dinner and dessert specials.

Fort Collins Fresh Food Share

Blue Spruce Pantry Renovation Wraps Up

With the installation of the new automated glass entrance and exit doors, the Food Bank for Larimer County officially completed the renovation of its Fresh Food Pantry located on Blue Spruce Drive in Fort Collins.

Empty Bowls

Community Celebrates Empty Bowls

The community came out in force to celebrate the 22nd Annual Food Bank for Larimer County’s Empty Bowls Soup Dinner & Art Auction fundraiser. The event, which began in an art class at Lopez Elementary School more than two decades ago, played host to more than 600 guests…

Bread ‘N’ Boards 2018 is a Big Success

The reviews are in and 13th Annual Bread ‘N’ Boards fundraiser was once again a big hit!

“Sears Trostel Lumber Bread and Boards. Awesome event!”

“I really like the bread and boards idea. It was my first time to attend.”

“Good product for a gift.”

Perhaps the best review was the more than $33,000 that was raised by the sale of the boards – all benefiting the Food Bank for Larimer County.

The event, hosted each year by Sears Trostel Lumber & Millwork, has become a community favorite and features beautiful handmade cutting boards created by Sears Trostel employees and volunteers. For a donation of $35, guests at this year’s event were able to choose from hundreds of beautiful hardwood cutting boards. The boards will make the perfect gift for friends, family and co-workers.

Bread 'N' Boards 2018


Each board came with a certificate for a free loaf of Great Harvest bread, and a bottle of finishing oil. The Food Bank provided color gift tags to include when giving the boards as gifts.


Cooking is a Labor of Love for Food Bank Volunteer

Tom Wilburton in the kitchenIf you are at all familiar with the Food Bank, you know that we believe there are many ways to make a difference in the community. You can give of your time. You can give of your talent. And of course, you can give financially.

If you are Tom Wilburton, one of our talented kitchen volunteers, you choose to spend some of your time cooking meals for Food Bank employees. For him, preparing a meal for staff is a labor of love.

Tom’s journey to the Food Bank is an interesting one, filled with good friends and good food. Born in New York City, Tom discovered a love of food early in life when he and his family would eat out in the city. “Being in New York, you had some of the world’s best chefs,” Tom said. “That’s where my love of food first began.”

After a career in the insurance business, Tom’s love of food led him to Catholic Charities, where he was the kitchen manager for some 20 years. “It’s funny, back then I used to tell the Food Bank I was their #1 customer,” Tom said.

When he wasn’t busy cooking in the kitchen or shopping at the Food Bank, Tom was looking at ways to raise money for Catholic Charities. “We would make pepperoni bread, chocolate chip cookies and hermit bars and sell them,” he said. “In some months we would raise thousands of dollars.”

So, what led Tom to the Food Bank? “It was just time to give back,” he said. “I was good friends with then Food Bank volunteer manager Kevin Lovett. After he passed away, I decided it was time and the Food Bank was the place.”

Recently, Tom decided to say thank you in his own unique way by preparing the occasional lunch for Food Bank staff. These are not your typical lunches at the Food Bank. For one of his most recent creations Tom served shrimp risotto, black bean soup and pepperoni bread. He even made a vegetarian risotto for those so inclined.

“I have fun in the kitchen. The volunteers and kitchen staff are great,” Tom said. “A main reason I volunteer here is the staff. Everyone here could make more money working somewhere else, but they choose to work here. I am happy to make them lunch once in a while.”

The staff at the Food Bank really appreciate Tom’s gesture. And let’s be honest, they really like they food, too. “Tom is a great human being,” said Nutritious Kitchen manager Rhonda Niccoli. “I really enjoy seeing him on Thursdays!”

You Made the Difference on Colorado Gives Day

We asked you to be the difference on Colorado Gives Day and you came through in a big way. The annual statewide day of giving that encourages residents to Give Where You Live allowed the Food Bank to receive $128,000 in donations!