To provide food to all in need through community partnerships and hunger relief programs.
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! The genesis of the food bank was a survey in 1983 conducted by Bowden, a VISTA volunteer. The intent was to determine the food status of the elderly and low-income residents in our community. The survey made it clear there was a need for a centralized location where donated food could be given to those in need. Fortunately, the reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was able to donate space in a building on east Oak Street in Fort Collins. In the first month of operation, volunteers were proud to give out 3,800 pounds of food.
What began as a small operation to feed more people in Larimer County has grown into a far-reaching and efficient organization. Last year, the Food Bank for Larimer County provided enough food for more than 8 million meals while serving an estimated 37,500 individuals through various programs.
Our Fresh Food Share program is one of the nation's largest client-choice fresh food pantries. In 2021, more than 20,000 individuals received food through our two main pantry locations in Fort Collins and Loveland, and our three mobile pantries. Over 40% of what we distribute is in the form of fresh produce.
Our Nutritious Kitchen programs serve free, scratch-cooked meals and snacks to children during the school year and summer. In fact, more than 130,000 meals and snacks were provided through our Kids Cafe Summer Food Service Program this year.
The Nourishing Network program allows nearly 100 nonprofit community partners to shop for food for the individuals they serve. Last year, we distributed more than 1.4 million pounds of food to community partners through the Nourishing Network.
In May of 2018, we moved our offices, kitchen, and warehouse to a new facility at 5706 Wright Drive in Loveland. This new headquarters provides 42,000 square feet of office and warehouse space, including 173,500 cubic feet of freezer and cooler space. This building has allowed us to expand to meet the need for food in Larimer County.
When COVID-19 hit, we responded with innovations and adaptations that have made us an even stronger organization. The crisis is far from over: Feeding America estimates that as many as 1 in 8 people, including 1 in 6 children, may experience food insecurity in 2021. While we remain hopeful about the future, locally, we expect the lingering economic effects of the pandemic to continue long after the virus has been eradicated. Our plan is simple: feed, connect, and innovate.
"I want to say thank you, from the bottom of my heart. You're helping us, you're donating your time and money, and you're respectful to Hispanic people."
"I don't usually have money to go to the grocery store like I used to, so the food we get is wonderful. It helps tremendously."
"The food I get here is so high-quality. Everyone in my household eats vegetables and I can get enough to last the week. I pack them in my daughter's lunchbox, and she loves them."
"When the volunteers see that we have kids in the car, they will run inside and get a small toy or sweet treat for each of them. It makes for a really special experience for our kids, and we are so grateful for the wonderful people here."
"The only reason we were able to eat for a few months was the food bank. And the money we didn't pay towards groceries made it possible to just squeak by on rent."
"I appreciate all that the volunteers, staff, and donors do for us. I take apples and carrots to my friend who is in her 80s, and the rest comes home with me."
"The food...is making an enormous difference to my family. I am so grateful to the Food Bank for Larimer County for all their help in getting me the nutritious food my family needs. From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much!"
"I don't understand how anyone can walk through the doors of the Food Bank and not be grateful. When I walk in there, I get chills, because there is so much love in that building. How can you not be blessed by the food and the people there? They're lifting box after box after box, and they're doing it for people they don't even know. Do you know what kind of heart these people have? Because I do."