Pay What You Can In Northern Colorado

Pay What You Can In Northern Colorado

4 donated-based restaurants thrive
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FoCo Cafe

As they bid her goodbye the door closed quietly behind, and she walked away humbled, inspired and grateful.

FoCo Cafe is the first successful donation-based restaurant in Fort Collins. Customers are invited to pay what they would normally pay, what they are able to pay, pay it forward or to pay with their time and volunteer.

Cafe Executive Director Mallory Andrews is one of four employees, but there are just under 2,000 volunteers in the system. Volunteers prep and cook food, clean and help close, bus tables, administrative work, donation sorting, help host fundraisers and more.

“The mix of guests that we get is really one of our most important aspects,” Andrews said. “It is important that we keep that client base to keep our mission alive.”

FoCo Cafe started feeding the community Thanksgiving Day of 2014. The entire kitchen was donated, and the staff all volunteers.

Co-founders Jeff and Kathleen Baumgardner recently retired to Hawaii, where they are planning their next adventure. The two spent almost every day working at the cafe for three years, sometimes volunteering up to 80 hours a week.

Andrews and her fellow employees are excited to carry on the concept. Part of which includes minimizing waste.

"We've been told that we could possibly qualify as a no-waste restaurant,” she said. “So we are looking into the capacity to do that.”

All compostable items (paper towels, coffee grounds, tea bags, leftover plate food, etc.) go into the compost. The better scraps are saved and fed to chickens in town. The rest is used for worm composting.

Trash is limited to non-compostable, non-recyclable items. “All of our trash is taken out once a week, and it's less trash than my household of three people.”

You won’t find a community like the one at FoCo Cafe anywhere else, but there are three other restaurants in CO that offer meals on a pay-what-you-can basis.

1. Cafe 180 - Soup and sandwich lunch spot south of Denver in Englewood.

2. SAME Cafe - Small plates and other lunch options in downtown Denver.

3. Seeds Community Cafe - Breakfast and lunch menu made with locally sourced ingredients in Colorado Springs.

Managing a profitable restaurant is a challenge, let alone a non-profit. Stop in today to help keep the mission alive, or sign up to volunteer!

Not sure which cafe will fit best with your itinerary? Check out the map for location and hours. If you’d like a behind-the-scenes tour of the FoCo Cafe, just call ahead and the staff will be happy to accommodate you.
Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Why Your Grandma Is Your Biggest Blessing In Life

Because nobody loves you more than she does.
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There are many people in your life you are thankful for: Mom, Dad, siblings, cousins, best friends, teachers, neighbors, you name it. You are grateful to have people who constantly support you, who pick you up when you're down and love you unconditionally. But the one person who stands out among the rest of them is your grandma.

SEE ALSO: 10 Reasons Why Your Grandma Is The Best Person In Your Life

Ever since you were little, you and your grandma have always had a special connection. Going over to Grandma's house for the night was something you looked forward to. She knew how to entertain you at your best and worst moments. No matter what you did together, you loved it. Being with your grandma wasn't like being at home or with your parents – it was better. You went to the park, made cookies, went out to dinner, got a “sweet treat" at the mall, played Go Fish, took a bubble bath for as long as you wanted and got way too much dessert than you should have. You did things you weren't supposed to do, but Grandma didn't stop you. Because at Grandma's house there were no rules, and you didn't have to worry about a single thing. Being with Grandma was the true epitome of childhood. She let you be you. She always made sure you had the best time when you were with her, and she loved watching you grow up with a smile on your face.

The older you got, your weekend excursions with your grandma weren't as frequent, and you didn't get to see her as much. You became more and more busy with school, homework, clubs, sports, and friends. You made the most out of your time to see her, and you wished you could be with her more. Although you were in the prime of your life, she mattered even more to you the older you both became. You were with your friends 24/7, but you missed being with your grandma. When the time rolled around, and you got the chance to spend time with her, she told you never to apologize. She wanted you to go out, have fun and enjoy life the way it makes you happy.

Reflecting back on these moments with your grandma, you realize how truly special she is to you. There is no one who could ever compare to her nor will there ever be. All your life, there is no one who will be as sweet, as caring, as sincere or as genuine as her. Even though you're all grown up now, there are things about your grandma that never changed from when you were a kid. She still takes you out for your favorite meal because she knows how important eating out means to you. She writes you letters and sends you a $5 bill every now and then because she knows you're a hard-working college student with no money. She still helps you with all of your Christmas shopping because she knows it's your tradition. She still asks what's new with your young life because hearing about it makes her day and she still loves you to no end. Your grandma is your biggest blessing (whether you knew it or not), and she always will be no matter what.

Cover Image Credit: Erin Kron

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Top 5 Hidden Gems In Clemson, SC

What are you missing out on in this beautiful South Carolina college town?

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Clemson, South Carolina. Home to the Clemson Tigers, one of the happiest universities in the nation and full of southern hospitality. I'm sure if you live in or near Clemson you know all the main spots to hang, or just grab a bite to eat. Who doesn't know Red Bowl, Spill the Beans or Bowman Field? Maybe you need a new spot, somewhere to quench your thirst for adventure, or maybe you're just tired of the same old same old. Either way, you're going to fall in love with these ten hidden gems, just as I have.

1. Yolk Asian Kitchen

Whether you're coming to Yolk for the made in house ginger ale, the stone rice bowls, or the kimchi tater tots; you'll always leave satisfied.

Located across from Mellow Mushroom (because you surely know where that is), this small restaurant has a very special place in my heart. I mean, 5 minutes from campus, good prices, and vegetarian options? What more can be said?

2. Todaro Pizza

Todaro Pizza. This small pizza shop that has the right amount of crust, to sauce, to greasiness and cheesiness. Everything aligns perfectly on these large slices of heaven. Not to mention, dollar slice nights every Wednesday from 6:00-11:00 p.m.

3. All In Coffee Shop

This small (but not really so small, its got amazingly spacious seating inside) cafe features pastries like your grandma would make, a bountiful selection of coffees and bubble tea offered every Wednesdays. This place is home to many of my study sessions, friendly conversations, and my large consumption of almond milk caramel lattes.

4. The Barnes Center

Now, I know this one may not be very hidden to those students who live on campus (particularly the high-rises) but, some may not know about the weekend events hosted here (and at least this one isn't completely food related). Whether it's game nights, DIY sessions, or cupcake wars: this spot on Clemson's Campus is a smorgasbord for bored college students.

5. Brackett Hall

Now, of course, if you're a student this building is not much of a secret. Many of us have had classes, exams or walked past this building many times. Though this building is underrated in the fact that in the evening it's one of the quietest places to study, with rows of tables and computers lining the bottom floor. (It even has a secret lounge for geology majors!)

I know these spots are great places to hang out with my friends and as a freshman, they've almost become little spots of home to me. Hopefully, these small little gems in this college town will quench your adventurous thirst and bring some spice to your life!

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