Feeding Our Community Ourselves, Inc.

As the only non-profit restaurant in Northern Colorado, FoCo Cafe serves all people, while filling a gap and need that many struggle with; there is not face to food insecurity. We do not offer hands outs, rather a way to participate in community in a way that lifts people up and offers hope.

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Faces of FoCo Cafe Sustaining Membership

Class

Human Services 

Beneficiaries

At-Risk Populations
Families
Homeless
Poor, Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent
Unemployed, Underemployed

Description

Its about people, food and community! We are a cafe of shared responsibility.

We know you can't always visit us for lunch as often as you would like but you want to support the mission of The FoCo Cafe; to provide a hand-up, not a handout, to those in need in our community.

With your sustaining membership you commit to an ongoing monthly donation to support the success of The FoCo Cafe ranging from $10-$1,000 a month. Join the 150+ members today!

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Evidence of Program's Success

In our first full year of operation (2015), we were able to sustain our organization through donations in exchange for meals. For the first five months, we remained an entirely volunteer organization. In order to maintain quality and consistency of meals and experience, we introduced a modest budget for payroll, slowly adding our four paid positions. Our focus in 2016 was building long-term sustainability as we expanded services to our community. We expanded hours for our operations manager, began offering employee benefits, transitioned our volunteer executive director position to a paid position, and introduced new initiatives that have had great impact.

We launched a summer family breakfast program, spread the word about nonprofit cafes through a TEDx presentation and other presentations in three states, received a national eChievement Award and a local award for human relations, introduced soup flights, and began hosting community glass recycling. Also, with the help of community members we introduced several high-impact resources that are used every day: The Giving Tree, FoCo Freedge, and The Kindness Cupboard. These are resources with a "give and receive" concept providing non-perishable foods, fresh produce, and basic need items for all community members to contribute to and enjoy.

Since opening on Thanksgiving Day 2014, the Cafe has served over 110,000 meals (as of April 2020), surpassing our wildest dreams. We have seen that food has the power to bridge barriers constructed by society and bring people together because participating in community fills a need as basic as that of food. The need for connection is incredibly important to body and soul, so it is incredibly important to us and our mission moving forward. 2018 has shown much growth and transition, and through this we must find the capacity to keep up with the demand for the services we offer. Growing our donor base will help us further the success and overall sustainability of the organization.

Kids Feeding Kids Summer Family Breakfast Program

Class

Food, Agriculture & Nutrition 

Beneficiaries

Children ages 5 to 21
Families
Poor/Economically Disadvantaged
Single Parents
Youth/Adolescents only (14 - 19 years)

Description

FoCo Cafe's Kids Feeding Kids Program is a summer family breakfast program that includes activities. The goal of the FoCo Café's "Kids Feeding Kids" program is three fold - to supply children with healthy breakfast foods, to support kids volunteering and participating in community in order to empower them to make change, and to help children to learn more about nutrition, develop other skills, and build social capital.

The pieces essential to implementation of this program are funding for the food and funding for interns to develop curriculum around health and food and other activities, and manage the program.

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Evidence of Program's Success

We completed our first Kids Feeding Kids Summer Breakfast and Activities Program in 2016. During this pilot program, we hosted families on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays during June and July. We served a healthy breakfast and provided fun activities for the kids and their families. We invested in food for the breakfasts, hosted our first paid intern, purchased a "Vegication" curriculum in order to teach the kids more about nutrition, and purchased supplies for activities. We partnered with noosa yoghurt and Rainbow Restaurant to provide healthy and nutritious meals.

Success was apparent, as we had participation from many families, drew program sponsors, and participants are eager for more. We also learned a great deal in this first year of programming and have developed plans to make this an even stronger program in summer 2017.

In Summer 2017, the program grew significantly. We served 49 families, and 120 children. We hosted children from 9 months to 17 year old, 8 languages total were spoken by our many participants, and 3/4 of our kids were food insecure. We served a healthy breakfast and had fun and educational activities, from milking a goat and learning where milk comes from to taste testing fruits, vegetables and herbs to meeting and learning about goats, chickens and worms that help to compost waste. 2018's program will follow previous years while seeking to grow and expand where we can for years to come!

Community Nutrition Partnership with Colorado State Nutrition Students

Class

Education 

Beneficiaries

Children ages 5 to 21
Females, all ages or age unspecified
Males, all ages or age unspecified
Young Adults (20-25 years)

Description

FoCo Cafe works directly with students in the Nutrition Program at Colorado State University. These students develop projects for the Cafe under the direction of Cafe leadership. This is a capstone project that lasts for a semester and culminates in a presentation of their work. In 2015, we had a Cafe recipe and gardening guide project. The students chose seasonal menu items, completed a nutritional analysis, and develop content for a recipe card. In addition to the recipe, the cards will have one side devoted to the nutritional benefits of a key ingredient and how to grow that ingredient. In 2016, the project will be development of informational content for the FoCo Freedge, a public refrigerator for community members to share their excess produce. This project is meant to build community, reduce food waste, and feed hungry people. Every year, they come up with a new project, so for 2017, they may stick to the Freedge project, or may choose to focus their attention where its needed more.

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Evidence of Program's Success

Most of the students from the first semester project are still Cafe volunteers, regularly involved in fundraising events and other activities. The Cafe has provided references for several of the participants for employment and practicum applications. Students interested in previous class projects have taken that work and develop it further.

C Partnership with Students at Colorado State University

Class

Education 

Beneficiaries

General Public
Homeless
Poor/Economically Disadvantaged
Poor/Economically Disadvantaged/Indigent
Young Adults (20-25 years)

Description

FoCo Cafe works directly with students in a class entitled "World Interdependence: Food and Population" at Colorado State University. Each Spring semester, these students develop projects and volunteer for the Cafe under the direction of Cafe leadership. This is a service learning program that is part of their coursework.

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Evidence of Program's Success

Last Spring, 11 of the 80 students in Food and Population class chose to volunteer their time to FoCo Cafe. We received Cafe projects related to composting, aquaponics, handicapped access, garden development, etc. The students had a wonderful experience - they toured a large aquaponics facility, saw and learned about the campus compost systems, and visited the CSU greenhouses. The faculty member teaching the course, Greg Graff, is a great supporter and is working to get his colleagues across many departments to find valuable ways to connect with FoCo Cafe. He shared with us the reflections of his students, noting that these are not the kind of reflections he has ever received on course surveys in a typical lecture style class.

Here are just two examples:
"The first major experience I had was finding out just how many people really suffer from food insecurity; this topic was discussed in class but it never really hit me until I could see how it affected my own community. I feel blessed to be a continuing aid to this cause and greatly value what it has already taught me."
"I was able to be part of this local community movement that makes Fort Collins such a special place. I was able to give back and in doing so, made meaningful connections to both the land and the people."

Key aspects of this profile information have been reviewed by Community First Foundation staff. Each organization is exclusively responsible for the content that appears on the profile page. Community First Foundation offers general guidance as to the purpose of each area but does not require or encourage charities to include anything in particular in each section.