Photo Jul 13, 11 25 51 AM

Kids Cafe Volunteers

Volunteering has many faces here at Food Bank for Larimer County. Some of our volunteers choose to cook, while others sort. Some choose to grow food to donate. Others choose to help with our events. We have many spots at the Food Bank for volunteers, but by far, the most popular choice is to volunteer with Kids Cafe.
Not only do Kids Cafe Volunteers directly have a hand in making sure children can eat this summer, but they have a hand in directly influencing the future of our community. By providing children nutritious and plentiful meals we help children do better in school along with other activities and we assist in keeping children healthy and strong.
“It’s just the right thing to do,” explains Tom Inscho. “And we have a lot of fun doing it. In life, we connect the dots to many things happening in the world. In my working life and my career there were many dots, seven or eight dots, if I do this then this will happen, and so on, to where eventually something good happens. In this, it is like one dot. If I do this, kids eat today.” Inscho is part of a group of volunteers that work in the kitchen, for Kids Cafe, every Wednesday at 10am. “It’s very satisfying to know that I can do something and it turns into something good.”
“I’ve been doing this every week for three years” Cynthia Bush said “I don’t know if other groups have as much fun as us we do, but it’s great. We laugh, we play music, we catch up and we are helping children.” Bush was previously a schoolteacher and witnessed firsthand the need for Kids Cafe in the Larimer County community. Today, with her group of friends on Wednesday, she is able to support that program.
For children who are food insecure many things are more difficult than for children who have consistent and healthy food at home. Many children from food insecure households have a harder time in school due to frequent illness-related absences or the inability to focus on learning. In the summer, when free and reduced school lunches are not available, kids can go days without a meal. If parents are able to purchase food, due to income restrictions, they will often choose cheaper and less-healthy food for children, which can lead to higher rates of childhood obesity and diabetes. Our Kids Cafe provides healthy meals to help children thrive in the summer.
Volunteers like Tom and Cynthia are the hearts and hands of Kids Cafe. With their help, each year, our Kids Cafe provides over 165,000 healthy meals and snacks. Our work would not be possible without the help of our fantastic and dedicated volunteers!
To learn more about volunteering at the Food Bank, please contact BenMensch at or visit our website:


Lago Vista Thrives with Kids Cafe

In Loveland, the Lago Vista trailer Park works with the Food Bank for Larimer County to ensure kids receive healthy and nutritious food every day, while school is out for the summer. Thanks to the aid and commitment of Laney and Duncan Howard, the children also have access to enrichment activities and educational programs.


Kids Cafe Fights Summer Hunger

This summer, Food Bank for Larimer County’s Kids Cafe is providing free summer meals in Fort Collins, Loveland, Wellington and Estes Park. The Food Bank plans to serve 56,000 meals during June, July and August. Every day in June the Community Kitchen produced:

  • 400 snacks for three locations,
  • 970 lunches for twelve locations,
  • and 150 breakfasts for two locations.

Summer meals give children a chance to access good meals and to try new things that are healthy and tasty.

“Chili Hoagies are a big hit” said Justin Kruger, Food Bank Executive Chef and Community Kitchen Manager, “the spicy chicken taco was very popular on Wednesday.  Our varieties of baked taquitos are all well liked.  The cinnamon sugar tortilla roll-up has been a big breakfast hit.” Justin runs kitchen operations along with Mike DeBonte.

Liz Donovan, Food Bank Programs Manager and registered dietitian, oversees the planning and production of foods every week. All meals and snacks meet or exceed USDA guidelines. Meals are prepared fresh in the Kids Cafe kitchen by volunteers under the supervision of Food Bank staff.

Read more

photo of food

Food Waste and the Food Bank Battle

We all do it. The day the milk goes “bad” according to a “best by” label it goes down the drain and the plastic container goes in the recycle bin. It’s understandable; we have been raised to believe that label on our green beans and spinach, our canned corn and pumpkin. Yet the reality is that none of those labels are regulated or even accurately indicate if a food is safe to consume.

Most foods are still good well past the “expiration date”, even fresh foods. As Ben Mensch, the volunteer coordinator at the Food Bank for Larimer County, puts it “Milk is not going to be fresh at 11:59pm and rotten at 12:01am, it just doesn’t work that way.” The problem with the dates and labeling is that none of it is regulated by the FDA or any other government agency (except for baby formula) for the consumer to actually know what is good or bad for them to consume. These numbers don’t even relate to food freshness, but instead are meant to work as a cataloging system for retailers to know when items were stocked. In May, a bill introduced in Congress has asked for federal regulation of food labeling in an attempt to cut down on food waste and inhibit states from passing bills that limit donations to food banks.

Read more

Food Bank for Larimer County Recieves 13th Consecutive 4-Star Rating from Charity Navigator

Food Bank for Larimer County’s strong financial health and commitment to accountability and transparency have earned it a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator. This is the 13th consecutive time that Food Bank for Larimer County has earned this top distinction.


Since 2002, using objective analysis, Charity Navigator has awarded only the most fiscally responsible organizations a 4-star rating. In 2011, Charity Navigator added 17 metrics, focused on governance and ethical practices as well as measures of openness, to its ratings methodology. These Accountability & Transparency metrics, which account for 50 percent of a charity’s overall rating, reveal which charities operate in accordance with industry best practices and whether they are open with their donors and stakeholders. On June 1, 2016, Charity Navigator upgraded their methodology for rating each charity’s’ financial health with CN 2.1. This enhancement further substantiates the financial health of four star charities.

Read more

Corporate Food Fighters Raise Record-Breaking $160,000+ to Fight Hunger in Larimer County

The Corporate Food Fight, an fundraiser for the Food Bank for Larimer County, was a great success in 2016. Thirty businesses in Larimer County participated in the event raising a total of $161,116 and 5,678 pounds of food to fight hunger in Larimer County!

FoodFightLogo v 6

Read more

donna image and quote

May is Older Americans Month

May is Older Americans Month in the Feeding America community, which means it is a time to reflect and understand the needs of Older Americans in the United States that have food insecurity. In Colorado this issue is just as important as it is in the rest of the country and one that the Food […]

Plant it Forward: Gardeners Needed!

Will you Plant It Forward?

Calling all gardeners in Larimer County!  As a joint partnership between the Gardens on Spring Creek and the Food Bank for Larimer County, Plant it Forward is a community activation campaign that encourages gardeners to plant, grow, and share some of their fresh produce with community members in need. This May, community members in Larimer County are urged to grow an extra row in their garden to donate to the Plant it Forward program.Plant it Forward Logo

“At this time of the year, Larimer County gardeners can decide to help the most vulnerable in our community by planting extra in their gardens,” explains Michelle Provaznik, Director, Gardens on Spring Creek. “Each member of the community can make a difference; no donation is too small.”

Of the nine million pounds of food the Food Bank distributes annually, the non-profit is working hard to get half of its distribution to be fresh vegetables and fruit. Produce donations from Plant it Forward directly benefit individuals, families, seniors, and children who receive food from the Food Bank for Larimer County’s Food Share pantry.

            Plant it Forward corresponds with the growing season. The program starts accepting produce donations in May and will continue to accept through the first freeze, usually in October. Individuals, families, churches, neighbors, and workplace groups are all welcome to participate.

The 2016 goal for Plant it Forward is 35,000 pounds of fresh food collected and delivered to the Food Bank.  In 2015, over 31,000 pounds was delivered through the program and used immediately for those in need in the Food Share pantry.

Community members can drop off produce directly to the Food Bank for Larimer County, 1301 Blue Spruce, Monday through Friday (8 a.m.–4 p.m.), or at the Gardens on Spring Creek, 2145 Centre Ave., Saturday (9 a.m.-4 p.m.) and Sunday (noon-5 p.m.). For more information, please visit


Great Plates of Downtown 2016


The Downtown Fort Collins Business Association and member businesses present a vibrant dining tradition for our community this March. Dining enthusiasts will be encouraged to celebrate the authenticity, quality and diversity found only in Downtown Fort Collins, at Great Plates of Downtown 2016.  During Great Plates, thirty-seven (37) downtown restaurants will offer dinner specials at a price of $25.00 or $2.50 breakfast deals.  Attendees will be able to enjoy downtown’s during this culinary celebration while supporting the Food Bank for Larimer County.

The Downtown Fort Collins Business Association is partnering with the Food Bank for Larimer County this year to help feed people in our county.  Patrons can make contributions to support the Food Bank for Larimer County.  Every donation helps- a $1 donation is equivalent to $5 worth of food. Donations, tax and tip are not included in the Great Plates price.  For more information on the Food Bank for Larimer County or to donate online visit

Dates:              March 1 – 14, 2016

Price:              $25.00 Dinner Specials, not including tax, tip, or donation

                        $2.50 Breakfast & Dessert Specials, not including tax, tip, or donation


Hours: 5:00 pm to close at participating dinner restaurants

                        5:00 pm to close at participating dessert restaurants

                        Open to 10am at participating breakfast restaurants


Menu:  Visit for Great Plates dinner, breakfast and dessert menus



Annual Downtown Sponsors: First National Bank, Eye Center of Northern Colorado, Poudre Valley Hospital University of Colorado Health, The Group, Inc., Schrader Oil, Meritage Homes and Colorado State University.

Official Sponsors: Food Services of America, Odell Brewery, 90 Shilling, High Country Beverage and Coors Light.

Media Partners: The Fort Collins Coloradoan and Town Square Media

Contributing Sponsors: Citizen Printing and ValPak of N. Colorado

Media Contact:          

Erica Vander Sande (Marketing Manager), Downtown Fort Collins Business Association, (970) 484-6500


Exclusive chef collaboration & competition



 Fort Collins, CO – February 22, 2016 – New this year, the Food Bank for Larimer County is partnering with the community event specialists at Fortified Collaborations to offer a fresh “TASTE” of culinary creativity to benefit hunger-relief programs in Larimer County. This year’s event will be held on April 14, 2016 at the Hilton Fort Collins from 6-9 pm. This first of its kind collaboration & competition will feature five teams of the area’s finest chefs. Each team will collaborate to create a themed tasting menu featuring one or more common produce staples (onions, potatoes, carrots, cabbage and apples) regularly available to the Food Bank’s clients. Guests will see firsthand how chefs transform the ordinary into the extraordinary and have a chance to sample items not found on menus anywhere in Northern Colorado. Teams will be expertly paired with local craft beers and flavorful wines for a first-class experience.

“We are so excited for the opportunity to collaborate with local chefs and restaurants in a new way, bringing a fresh approach to THE TASTE for its 23rd year,” said Kristina Cash, Founder, Fortified Collaborations. “We’ve received only rave responses from the participating chefs and can’t wait to see what they will present on April 14!”

Only 300 individual tickets will be sold to this one-of-a-kind event. Tickets are $120 and each ticket sold will provide $600 worth of food to ensure everyone in our community has the nourishment they need to thrive and succeed. TASTE tickets can be purchased online at Included with each ticket, guests will have the opportunity to sample creative, 5-star cuisine not on any menu; enjoy champagne & fine cheeses at Bubble Stations; interact with local chefs to learn the story of their cuisine; vote for Toast of THE TASTE; cap off the evening at the coffee, tea & dessert bar; relax with live jazz music; bid on fabulous packages in a bountiful silent auction; and receive all of the evening’s extraordinary recipes.

“After decades of successfully raising funds for hunger-relief programming through THE TASTE, we’re looking forward to bringing a fresh, new culinary concept to the community,” said Heather Buoniconti, Chief Development Officer, Food Bank for Larimer County. “We think guests will love the new event as it is truly about collaboration and community; or more precisely, everyone sharing their talents and treasures to work towards ending hunger in Larimer County.”


Chefs & Restaurants for 2016 TASTE

David Bowyer – 4th Street Chophouse; Troy Heller – Ace Gillett’s; Jeff Blackwell & Brent Rortbert – Austin’s American Grill; Rudy Burns – Babette’s Feast Bakery & Catering; Mckinzy Calapp – Café Vino; Dave Neas – CooperSmith’s Pub & Brewing; Matt Smith – Door 222; Jeff Blackwell & Issac Moreno – Enzio’s Italian Kitchen; Alex Runge – FCB Modern Tavern; Oskar Arevalo –  Fish; Justin Kruger – Food Bank for Larimer County’s Community Kitchen; Vince Clark – Food for Thought Catering; Rhys Edmunds – Jay’s Bistro; Jeff Blackwell – Moot House; Brian Shaner – Nick’s Homestyle; Karin Vandermeere – Origins Wine Bar & Pizza; Amelia Mouton – Restaurant 415; Alex Feldman – Rare Italian; Aaron Conkley – Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant; Benjamin Rosing – Spring Creek Grille @ the Hilton, Dave Daggett – TasteBuds and Rise!; Nate Hines – Welsh Rabbit Bistro.


2016 TASTE Sponsors

With the generous support of event sponsors, including presenting sponsor University of Colorado Health, 100% of ticket sales will support hunger-relief programming in Larimer County. Additional sponsors include: Bohemian Foundation, Claypot Creative, Flood and Peterson, Food Services of America, Fortified Collaborations, Kluver-Moore Foundation, Motherlove, Citizen Printing, Dellenbach Motors, Elks Lodge #804, FirstBank, Gary & Dee Ludwin, Neenan Archistruction, Pedersen Toyota and Dr. Robert M. Williams and Ms. Jill J. Williams. Media sponsors include: The Coloradoan, Feasting Fort Collins, KUNC and Style.

For more information, visit




About Food Bank for Larimer County:

Founded in 1984, the Food Bank for Larimer County is the county’s only Feeding America clearinghouse for donated food. In 2015, the Food Bank provided 8.9 million pounds of food to low-income residents through three programs: Food Share, Kids Cafe and Food Link. Food Share is a client-choice, fresh food pantry with locations in Fort Collins and Loveland that provides donated and government food to income qualifying individuals up to two times per week. Nearly 29,000 Larimer County residents received assistance through Food Share last year. Kids Cafe provides free, nutritious meals to low income children after school and during the summer. The Food Bank prepared and delivered over 81,000 meals to at-risk children last year. Food Link provided food to 87 non-profit organizations for use in their programs for low income individuals. These organizations include food pantries, soup kitchens, after school programs and domestic violence shelters among others. For more information please visit or