Cans Around the Oval is October 21

102214_CM-Cans-14-1024x681At the Food Bank, we love this time of year because everywhere we turn it seems our community is talking about Cans Around the Oval! Whether it’s neighborhood kids collecting cans door to door or CSU student groups standing outside the local grocery asking for donations, you’re sure to run across a Cans Around the Oval team.

This month we welcome the 28th Annual Cans Around the Oval, a Colorado StateCans 2008 Poster
University tradition, where students, faculty, and staff partner with community members, area businesses and public schools to raise hunger awareness, as well as food and monetary donations for our Food Bank. The event is sponsored and organized by the Student Leadership, Involvement, and Community Engagement (SLiCE) office at CSU.

Last year, well over 100 groups including, CSU student and greek organizations, University offices, academic departments, PSD Schools and local faith groups worked together to raise nearly $47,000 and 47,470 pounds of food! Since its inception, Cans Around the Oval has raised $297,176 and collected 1,390,910 pounds of food!

It’s not too late to register a team! To get involved, visit the SLiCE website.

New Kids Link Snack Program Partnership

Junior League CroppedThe Food Bank for Larimer County and the Junior League of Fort Collins are happy to announce a new partnership to provide snacks to local schools. Since 2009, the Food Bank’s Kids Link snack program has provided shelf stable snacks to schools where more than 50% of students qualify for free and reduced meals. During the height of the recession, schools reported growing numbers of children who were receiving their only nourishment at school. Concerned teachers and staff members were purchasing snacks with their own money to support these children. To help with this critical issue, the Food Bank stepped in and allocated funding to provide healthy snacks to these schools to lessen the financial burden on teachers and ensure kids had more to eat.

The Junior League of Fort Collins began the Poudre School District snack program in 2006 in an effort to address the growing childhood hunger epidemic throughout Larimer County as part of their initiative to create opportunities for women and children to thrive. Since the program’s inception, the Junior League of Fort Collins has provided snacks each year to students at Poudre School District schools. The snacks were provided to students participating in after school enrichment programs with populations at 36% and higher qualifying for free and reduced lunch and during state testing.

“As the schools’ need for support has continued over the years, a partnership made sense,” said Amy Pezzani, Executive Director, Food Bank for Larimer County. “Working with the Junior League we are able enhance the Kids Link program by adding delivery. In the past, many qualifying schools were unable to fully take advantage of the program because of hours and location.”

Under the new partnership arrangement, the Food Bank will procure and store the snacks.  The Junior League of Fort Collins will fund the program, fill orders and deliver them to area schools. The program will continue to concentrate on providing healthy snacks to children in need so that they can stay focused. It is available to qualifying Thompson and Poudre School District schools. To be eligible, 50% or more of the school’s student population must qualify for free and reduced meals.

“We are very excited to combine the passion of our volunteer-based organization with the Food Bank for Larimer County through this new partnership,” Sarah Hunnell, President, Junior League of Fort Collins. “It is our hope that this important work will make a difference for more children in need in our community.”

Polly’s Story

Polly CroppedFor years, Polly’s business was taking care of others. She worked in assisted living centers and eventually started her own home healthcare business and cared for individuals with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Polly first started visiting the Food Bank to pick up food for her clients. She remembers how excited her patients were when she returned home with great food after “shopping” at the Food Bank. “Everyone at the Food Bank was always so friendly,” shared Polly.

Then, last year, Polly lost everything. She lost her job and her home after she could no longer care for others because Polly herself needed help. She started falling, she had tremors and she couldn’t manage the stairs. She lived in the Mission for a month until she finally confided in a friend. That friend gave Polly a place to live and hired her to do odd jobs so she could try to get back on her feet and sort out her medical issues. Eventually, Polly was diagnosed with Stage III Parkinson’s Disease. Doctors also found a brain tumor.

Until recently, medications were helping Polly manage some of her symptoms, but she still struggled with unexplained vision impairment and extreme blood pressure fluctuations. Due to her health issues, Polly was no longer able to care for others. She found a roommate and continued to work odd jobs for a while to help pay her $550 share of monthly rent. Beyond income from odd jobs, she receives $196 in SNAP benefits (food stamps) and $196 per month in additional assistance. Polly found a job at a call center, but that only lasted two days because Polly started experiencing daily seizures, sometimes two or three per day. She can longer work because of the seizures and as a result is no longer able to afford her rent. Currently, she’s living with a friend, but will have to move again in a month. She’s waiting for her application for disability to be heard, but doesn’t expect to start receiving assistance until December.

To help make ends meet, Polly visits the Food Bank. When she first became a client, rather than a “shopper” for others, she remembers how Jan, Food Share Manager, took the time to help Polly get through the line and pick out her items.

“When I first started coming to the Food Bank I was really struggling and Jan and Lynette were so compassionate and helpful.” Polly especially appreciates the fresh fruits and vegetables she’s able to get at the Food Bank. “I eat veggie based meals, healthy foods – no junk food ever – to help manage my Parkinson’s symptoms,” said Polly. “The Food Bank is one of the greatest places ever. They are always there.”

Despite all of her personal struggles, Polly continues to give back. She’s a passionate volunteer with the Homeless Coalition. On Thursdays, she visits the Food Link program to pick out food for meals. On Fridays, she helps cook and serve at the Mennonite Church. Last month, Polly used her personal SNAP benefits to purchase milk to share with “her people” at a Friday night meal. “Milk is like gold, especially for the children. I feel compelled to help others because so many have helped me. If it weren’t for the Mission and the Food Bank, I don’t know where I’d be.”

Hunger is a Community Issue

At the Food Bank for Larimer County we believe that no one should be hungry.  We also believe that a well-nourished community is a strong community. Hungry children cannot learn. Hungry adults cannot perform on the job. Hungry seniors cannot maintain their health. When our neighbors are hungry, it impacts us all.

Imagine being so hungry that you fantasize that your teacher is a banana. In the documentary, A Place at the Table, Rosie has that fantasy. Rosie’s family regularly struggles with hunger and Rosie also struggles to keep up in school. Research shows that children who don’t have enough to eat cannot focus. They are sick more often.  They miss school. They are less likely to graduate thus perpetuating the cycle of poverty.

Lesser known is the impact of hunger on adults. A former client shared her story about struggling to find a job.  After months of unemployment, she was excited when a friend referred her for a job.  After days with little to eat, she went to the interview. When she learned that she didn’t get the job, she asked why.  She was told that she hadn’t made any sense. This woman with a master’s degree couldn’t overcome the effects of hunger to get back on her feet.

Senior hunger is a growing problem with serious consequences. According to a 2014 study published by Feeding America and the National Foundation to End Senior Hunger, food insecure seniors have an increased risk of developing nine diseases and health conditions, including asthma and congestive heart failure. Over the last five years, the number of seniors we serve has continued to grow. Without community support, thousands of our seniors will spend their golden years struggling with hunger and their health.

The fact is hunger’s impact is far-reaching, well beyond the empty refrigerators of the neighbors we serve.  So what can WE do? September is Hunger Action Month; a nationwide movement designed to raise hunger awareness and motivate action. YOU can make a difference.  Learn more.

September is Hunger Action Month!

HAM_LOGO_cmyk[1]The Food Bank for Larimer County, a member of  the Feeding America® nationwide network of food banks, will observe Hunger Action MonthTM – a nationwide initiative designed  to mobilize the public to take action on the issue of hunger and join the movement to help end hunger. Hunger advocates from Larimer County and across the country are working together this September to shine a light on the issue of hunger and the 1 in 6 people who face hunger in America – including more than 43,000 food insecure individuals here in Larimer County.

“One in 10 people in Larimer County struggle with hunger, and the Food Bank is eager to rally around Hunger Action Month as we continue our fight to solve this issue,” said Amy Pezzani, Executive Director of the Food Bank for Larimer County. “Hunger is an issue that affects everyone – our child’s classmate, an office coworker or neighbor down the street. September is an opportunity for everyone to take simple steps towards supporting those in need.”

The Feeding America network of food banks also is participating in the new SpoontemberTM online initiative. To get involved, supporters can share a ‘spoon selfie’ or video of themselves balancing a spoon on their nose – a utensil that is most often used to prepare and provide food for others – and challenge friends and family to join them to generate awareness of the 49 million Americans who may not know where they’ll find their next meal.

In addition, the Food Bank will commemorate Hunger Action Day®, which will be held Thursday, September 3. Hunger Action Day is an opportunity for the country to learn more about how hunger affects their community. The Food Bank will commemorate Hunger Action Day 2015 with a public open house so that the community can learn more about the Food Bank and see operations in action.

“Domestic hunger affects every community in our nation, preventing millions of families, seniors and children from thriving,” said Matt Knott, president of Feeding America. “This September we all are given a chance to come together and make a difference for those facing hunger.”

The Food Bank is providing several opportunities for community members to get involved in Hunger Action Month in Larimer County:


New this year, the spoon will serve as the icon for Hunger Action Month to help raise hunger awareness. As the utensil used to eat, prepare food, and serve food, as well as to feed those who can’t feed themselves, the spoon is a natural symbol for the Hunger Action Month campaign. To help spread awareness, the Food Bank challenges the community to take a “spoon selfie”, share it on social media and challenge friends to do the same! Be sure to use #Spoontember and #Hunger Action Month in posts!

 September 1 – December 31

Kicking off during Hunger Action Month, the Feeding America network and Bank of America are joining forces for the 4th consecutive year to support the Give A Meal program, which aims to reduce food insecurity in communities around the country. For every $1 donated to the Food Bank, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation will give $2 more. Donations can be made at Be sure to enter your zip code to keep your donation in Larimer County!

 September 3 – Hunger Action Day

On Thursday, September 3, the Food Bank will be hosting a community open house. Larimer County residents are invited to attend one of three tours to be held at 9 am, 1 pm and 5 pm, to learn more or to RSVP, please call the Food Bank, 970.493.4477.

September 3 – SPOONTEMBER at Ben & Jerry’s

Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop will help the Food Bank kick off SPOONTEMBER on Thursday, September 3 from 11 am – 11 pm at their shop in Old Town Square. Before enjoying a delicious scoop of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, visitors will receive a special Hunger Action Month orange spoon to take a “spoon selfie” and are asked to post it on social media and challenge friends to do the same all in the name of raising hunger awareness. Ice cream lovers will also enjoy free toppings that day with 10% of the day’s sales donated to the Food Bank!

September 11 – Volunteer Day at the Food Bank

During Hunger Action Month, the Food Bank sets aside an open volunteer shift to give community members a chance to help out. The shift runs from 12:30 – 3 pm on Friday, September 11 at the Food Bank warehouse in Fort Collins, 1301 Blue Spruce. To learn more or to sign up, visit

September 16 – Loveland Aleworks “Pint for the People”

Loveland Ale Works is taking action to fight hunger this September by hosting a food drive and donating $1 per beer sold from 6-close on Wednesday, September 16 at their brewery at 118 West 4th St., Loveland.

 September 17 – Cans Around the Oval Distribution Day at Lory Student Center

Team registration for the 29th Annual Cans Around the Oval community fund and food drive kicks off at the Lory Student Center on September 17. For more information, contact CSU’s SLiCE Office, 970-491-5488 or visit

September 23 – Loveland Food Share Public Tour and Volunteer Project

Community members are invited to take a behind the scenes tour of Loveland Food Share and participate in a “hands on” volunteer project. The event will be held from 12:30 – 3:00 pm at the Food Bank’s Loveland facility, 2600 N. Lincoln Ave. To learn more or to RSVP, please call the Food Bank, 970.493.4477.

 September 27 – Front Range Rally @ Loveland Farmers’ Market

The Front Range Rally has been invited to bring their signature craft beer & Food truck experience to the Loveland Farmers’ Market at Fairgrounds Park on Sunday, September 27. Admission is free and visitors will be able to walk around the entire market while enjoying local craft beer from Loveland Aleworks and Verboten Brewing with food from Chaulkboard Gourmet Express and Mile High Lobster Shack. 100% of beer sales and a portion of food sales go directly to Food Bank for Larimer County.

Plant It Forward Collecting Donations Now!

garden produce in basketThe Colorado growing season is in full swing. As you’re working in the garden this month, please consider donating some of your fresh produce to the Food Bank’s Plant It Forward program. Plant It Forward is a joint effort between the Food Bank and Gardens on Spring Creek. Started in 2011, the program collects donated produce from backyard gardeners to help feed neighbors in need. In 2014, the program yielded 37,000 pounds of fresh produce! No donation is too small!

Donating is easy!

Drop off locations:
Food Bank for Larimer County
1301 Blue Spruce
Fort Collins
Monday-Friday; 9am – 4pm

Gardens on Springcreek
2145 Centre Ave.
Fort Collins
Saturday; 9am-4pm
Sunday; 12noon-5pm

Fort Collins Human Race

Fort Collins Human Race

Saturday, July 25
Civic Center Park
Lace up your shoes and get ready to run! Join us Saturday, July 25 for the Fort Collins Human Race.  This 5k, 10k and 1/2 marathon event race off in Civic Center Park and runs through beautiful downtown Fort Collins. Proceeds will benefit the Food Bank and our partner agency, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Larimer County. Learn more and register online.

Food Bank for Larimer Kids Cafe Virtual Tour

This summer, the Food Bank for Larimer County Kids Cafe program will prepare and deliver nearly 1,000 meals per day to 11 sites throughout Larimer County.
Kids Cafe is a national program supported by Feeding America. With a full-time chef and registered dietitian on staff, the focus of Kids Cafe is on nutrition. Meals are cooked from scratch and exceed USDA and National School Lunch nutrition standards.

We partner with several amazing organizations who are providing critical support to children over the summer months. Please take a virtual tour of one of our fantastic partner sites to learn more!


Strengthening Child Health and Nutrition by Closing the Summer Meal Gap

little girlThe Child Summer Hunger Gap

Almost 16 million children live in households unable to consistently access enough nutritious food necessary for a healthy life and more than 12 million children in the United States experience obesity. The school breakfast and lunch programs are crucial interventions to combat child hunger and obesity by providing children with consistent access to nutritious and balanced meals. But what happens to those at-risk children during the summer months? While there has been significant progress to ensure low-income kids have access to healthy meals at school, we know that only 16% of those children are accessing nutrition assistance during the summer. This gap in food access harms the health of millions of children whose families do not have additional resources in the summer months. When Congress writes a new child nutrition bill in 2015, we have an important opportunity to invest in child health by investing in feeding kids and closing the summer meal gap.

Nationwide, only 16% of children that receive school lunch access summer meal.

Child Hunger = A Health Crisis

Studies have found that children who face hunger experience greater health and developmental problems.[i] Areas with high food insecurity often also have high obesity rates. Regardless of income, children who face food shortages, compared to those who do not, are more likely to have:

  • frequent stomach and head aches, colds, and increased fatigue[ii]
  • higher risk for chronic health conditions,[iii] such as anemia[iv],[v]
  • higher hospitalization rates[vi] and worse developmental outcomes[vii]
  • frequent instances of oral health problems.[viii]

POLICY RECOMMENDATION TO CLOSE THE SUMMER MEAL GAP: Strengthen communities’ ability to reach children during the summer by allowing community partners to utilize alternate program delivery models. By providing waivers in areas where children are not able to reach a congregate feeding site, community partners can reach children that lack access to a nutritious summer meal.  

Limited Household Budgets = Less Nutritious Foods During the Summer

Low-income families that rely on school meals during the school year are often strained to make ends meet during the summer. This can impact children’s nutrition intake. In the summer months, research shows that hunger for families with school age children increases by 34.2% and that most children – particularly children at high risk of obesity – gain weight more rapidly.[ix] As families struggle to make ends meet, a Feeding America study found that 79 percent of households that access charitable food programs report purchasing inexpensive, unhealthy food to make ends meet.[x]

USDA conducted pilot projects that provided low-income families with a summer grocery card to assist with the increased financial strain in the absence of school meals. Overall, the pilot reduced very low child food security by 33% and increased the nutrition intake among children. When compared to non-participants, kids consumed 12.6% more fruits and vegetables, 29.6% more whole grains, 9.7% more dairy, and 7.5% less sugar-sweetened beverages.[xi]

 POLICY RECOMMENDATION TO CLOSE THE SUMMER MEAL GAP: Allow states the option to provide low-income families with a summer grocery card to purchase the food they need for their children when school lunches and breakfasts are no longer available. USDA pilots have shown this to be an efficient, direct method to ensure children have access to nutritious food in the summer.  

Questions? Contact Eleni Towns, Policy Analyst, at


[i] Food and Research Center. The Health Consequences of Hunger.

[ii] Coleman-Jensen, Alisha, William McFall, and Mark Nord. Food Insecurity in Households with Children: Prevalence, Severity, and Household Characteristics, 2010-2011. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, May 2013, Appendix A.

[iii] Kirkpatrick, McIntyre, and Potestio (2010) Child hunger and long-term adverse consequences for health. Archive of Pediatric Adolescent Medicine, 164 (8), 754-762.

[iv] Eicher-Miller, Mason, Weaver, McCabe, and Boushey (2009) Food Insecurity is associated with iron deficiency anemia in US adolescents. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 90, 1358-1371.

[v] Skalicky, Meyers, Adams, Yang, Cook, and Frank (2006) Child Food Insecurity and Iron Deficiency Anemia in Low-Income Infants and Toddlers in the United States. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 10 (2), 177-185.

[vi] Cook, Frank, Leveson, Neault, Heeren, Black, Berkowitz, Casey, Meyers, Cutts, and Chilton (2006) Child food insecurity increases risks posed by household food insecurity to young children’s health. Journal of Nutrition, 136, 1073-1076.

[vii] Zaslow, Bronte-Tinkew, Capps, Horowitz, Moore, and Weinstein (2008) Food Security During Infancy: Implications for Attachment and Mental Proficiency in Toddlerhood. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 13 (1), 66-80.

[viii] Muirhead, Quiñonez, Figueiredo, and Locker (2009) Oral health disparities and food insecurity in working poor Canadians. Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology, 37, 294-304.

[ix] Von Hippel, P.T., B. Powell, D.B. Downey, and n. Rowland. 2007 The effect of school on overweight in childhood: Gains in children’s body mass index during the school year and during the summer vacation. American Journal of Public Health 97 (4): 796-802.

[x] Feeding America, Hunger in America 2014, National Report. August 2014.

[xi] U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service. Report on the Summer Food for Children Demonstration Projects for Fiscal Year 2013, December 2013.

Corporate Food Fighters Raise Record $145,113

2015 Corporate Food Fight WinnersIt was a “sweet 16” celebration for the Food Bank for Larimer County’s 16th Annual Corporate Food Fight. Thirty-four companies raised an unprecedented $145,113 and collected 10,512 pounds of food. The Corporate Food Fight challenges local businesses to raise food and funds for the Food Bank. The event ran the entire month of April, but each company designed their own campaign timeline. Some companies held a basic and simple food drive or had a food based event like a bake sale or chili cook-off – others got down-right creative and did things like executive tricycle races or held a genuine food fight! Over the course of the last 16 years, food fighters have raised over $1,000,000 to provide f for food insecure children, seniors and families in Larimer County.

“Our Food Fighters really took off the gloves this year and raised an unbelievable amount of money to fight hunger in Larimer County,” said Heather Buoniconti, development director, Food Bank for Larimer County. “We are so grateful to all of the participating companies for their support.”

2015 Corporate Food Fight Champions

The BIG CHEESE Champions

1st – NVIDIA
2nd – UCH
3rd – AMD
4th – Woodward

Newcomer Award
Associates in Family Medicine

CHIP Award (challenge among chip producing tech companies)

The Golden Apple/ Banker’s Battle Award
Verus Bank of Commerce

Corporate Food Fighters in 2015 included: Advantage Bank, AMD, Associates in Family Medicine, Avago Technologies, CA Technologies, Clay Pot Creative, Constant Contact,  Employment Solutions, Eye Center of Northern Colorado, First Bank, First National Bank, First Tech Federal Credit Union – Fort Collins, First Tech Federal Credit Union – Loveland, First Western Trust, Flood and Peterson, Heska Corporation,  Hewlett Packard, Home State Bank, Intel Corporation, Liberty Tax Service,  L.P.R. Construction Co., McWhinney, New Belgium Brewing Company, NVIDIA, Odell Brewing Company, Platte River Power Authority, PROSCI, Stor-Mor, Tolmar, University of Colorado Health, Verus Bank, Xcel Energy, Davis Wealth Management Group of Wells Fargo Advisors, Woodward, Inc.