Anna von Pechmann
FoCo Cafe goes above and beyond with their services, giving a “hand-up” rather than a handout, as their values say. They offer not only a meal but a healthy, locally sourced one in a warm and friendly volunteer-driven environment.
In the string light-strewn bubble of Fort Collins, it is easy to forget that the season of giving encompasses much more than Hallmark movies and warm cozy nights among family and friends. For some in our community, the holidays are marked by an increased need for clothes, food and a place to warm up after long days in the cold. Thanks to FoCo Cafe, some of those needs can be met.
After celebrating their seventh anniversary this Thanksgiving and preparing for their Party with a Purpose event, which will fund their rent and utilities for the year, chef Michelle Klamm and Operations Manager Lauren McGee reflected on how the holidays affect their customers.
“Not everyone finds joy during the holidays,” McGee said. “Conditions that those without a home live in can be very harsh, so we try to help with basic items like scarves, hats and socks.”
The cold winds of Fort Collins can be harsh; having access to warm, essential items is key for many people who attend the FoCo Cafe. Offering that support is vital and shows just how necessary FoCo Cafe is.
“Everyone struggles at least once in their life,” McGee said. “As a community, it is our job to help those in need and provide as much support as possible.”
The care and kindness that are funneled into the community are irreplaceable. The comfort that the cafe provides extends beyond those experiencing homelessness. The FoCo Cafe has the capacity to help those struggling at any stage of life.
“I know when I was in college, I was struggling, and I was working,” McGee said. “If I could get a healthy meal for a minimum donation of $4, I would absolutely come here.”
It’s likely that the average college student in Fort Collins hasn’t heard of the FoCo Cafe. It’s not as close to campus as Alleycat Coffee House or Pickle Barrel, but the chance to help the community you join as a Ram and enjoy a healthy meal for a minimum of $4 (or a little extra if you’re feeling the giving spirit) is well worth it.
Food insecurity can be experienced at any point in your life, and around the holidays, it can feel that much more amplified. Having the capacity to be sympathetic to that is so important in maintaining a supportive community, which Fort Collins aims to be.
“There is a huge need for food security and increased awareness around the fact that we’re a largely affluent town, but we do have low-income families and people experiencing homelessness, and it’s not something we can brush under the rug,” Klamm said.
Open 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, the FoCo Cafe aids those experiencing food insecurity no matter their ability to contribute to the program, an attribute unique to them in Fort Collins. Similarly, others can support their work by paying a little extra for their meals.
With the season of giving upon us, a Party with a Purpose is Dec. 7 at Odell Brewing Company. FoCo Cafe has earned its place as a pivotal part of the community. They embody important aspects of the holiday season like generosity, kindness and understanding through their continued work.
FoCo Cafe is located at 225 Maple St. in Fort Collins. To see their menu, check out their Facebook page.
Reach Ivy Secrest at email@example.com or on Twitter @IvySecrest.