FoCo Cafe Halloween treat boxes give back to community


Collegian | Gregory James

The front entrance of FoCo Cafe Oct. 23. The nonprofit restaurant provides food for the community using locally and sustainably grown foods.

Katherine Borsting, Staff Reporter

A little cafe connected to a community garden sits at the end of Old Town at 225 Maple St.

The sign attached to the building reads “FoCo Cafe” in bold green letters. The name, however, is not slang for Fort Collins; FoCo stands for “feeding our community ourselves.” 


FoCo Cafe is a nonprofit with a mission of providing healthy and nutritious food to the Fort Collins community. The cafe is open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekdays and is the only nonprofit cafe in the area.

During October, customers can spend $25 and receive a pay-it-forward Halloween treat box. This will allow 12 treats to be made, and the person who purchased the box will get to keep eight treats. The remaining four treats will be passed on to someone in the community who needs them. 

The front entrance of the FoCo cafe Oct. 23.
The front entrance of FoCo Cafe Oct. 23. The cafe has recently started selling Halloween treat boxes to get in the Halloween mood. (Collegian | Gregory James)

All of the treats inside are made by the bakers at the cafe and can accommodate a range of different dietary needs. Some items that can be found within the boxes are pumpkin Rice Krispies Treats and caramel apple cookies.

Tamra Leavenworth is the development intern at FoCo Cafe and talked about the importance of having opportunities like this. 

“People in need deserve small luxuries like this, especially as the holiday season comes closer,” Leavenworth said. “Part of something you’re buying is helping a person in need.” 

Events like the Halloween treat boxes help benefit Fort Collins because it grows the community and creates shared experiences among residents within the area, Leavenworth said.

FoCo Cafe has many events like the treat boxes for all kinds of holidays throughout the year. They do this in hope of providing inclusion for everyone in the community to enjoy holidays, which can be especially hard when experiencing financial insecurity.

Apart from the treat boxes, the cafe has a wide variety of options on its menu, and the majority of the items are local, organic and sustainably grown, according to their website

FoCo Cafe was founded in 2012 by Jeff and Kathleen Baumgardner with the goal to provide equal access to healthy sustainable food. During the first five months of the cafe being open, it was all run by volunteers and only able to support a few paid positions.


Leavenworth explained they have a “pay what you can” model, meaning there is no set cost of items, just a recommended donation starting at $5; however, customers can pay as much as they would like. This contributes to wages and materials within the cafe. 

If customers are unable to pay, they are asked to volunteer their time at the cafe. Each shift worked is compensated with a free meal. Some examples of volunteer work include meal prep, serving guests and cleaning.

FoCo Cafe is a great community space that continues to give back to Fort Collins. As they celebrate their 10-year anniversary this year, they hope to continue providing accessible food options for everyone in the area.

Reach Katherine Borsting at or on Twitter @katbor2025