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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A Letter To My Go-To Aunt

Happiness is having the best aunt in the world.
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I know I don't say it enough, so let me start off by saying thank you.

You'll never understand how incredibly blessed I am to have you in my life. You'll also never understand how special you are to me and how much I love you.

I can't thank you enough for countless days and nights at your house venting, and never being too busy when I need you. Thank you for the shopping days and always helping me find the best deals on the cutest clothes. For all the appointments I didn't want to go to by myself. Thank you for making two prom days and a graduation party days I could never forget. Thank you for being overprotective when it comes to the men in my life.

Most importantly, thank you for being my support system throughout the numerous highs and lows my life has brought me. Thank you for being honest even when it isn't what I want to hear. Thank you for always keeping my feet on the ground and keeping me sane when I feel like freaking out. Thank you for always supporting whatever dream I choose to chase that day. Thank you for being a second mom. Thank you for bringing me into your family and treating me like one of your own, for making me feel special because you do not have an obligation to spend time with me.

You've been my hero and role model from the time you came into my life. You don't know how to say no when family comes to you for help. You're understanding, kind, fun, full of life and you have the biggest heart. However, you're honest and strong and sometimes a little intimidating. No matter what will always have a special place in my heart.

There is no possible way to ever thank you for every thing you have done for me and will continue to do for me. Thank you for being you.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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A Love Letter To My Air Fryer

And why you would love an fryer too...

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In a previous article, I wrote about how love to use Trello.com for organizing things. I'm still loving Trello. I've haven't grown bored of it and stopped using it (like I have with some other organizational systems). This time, I'm going to share another item that I love, and it's for one of my favorite things, food! I finally gave in and bought an air fryer, and after my first use, I literally said that it's wonderful! I bought a small air fryer. It only holds about two quarts, but it's perfect for quick lunches.

I thought I'd love the air fryer if it could dry fry food with little to no oil, and it does just that. I'm also in love with the air fryer, because I could simply put the food in it, set the timer and live my life for a few minutes until the food is done. I don't have to stand over it and watch the food cook. That makes the air fryer a winner! Did I mention that it really does work?! Yes, it does work. Now, you could buy foods that are already breaded and throw them in the air fryer, but if you want to go the healthier route, you can use bread crumbs, flour, and eggs to make your own crispy coatings for your foods. Dipping your food in your own homemade batter cuts out some of the salt and added chemicals in the frozen pre-fried foods.

You can also fry foods that do not even need a homemade batter. Without using the batter, I've made sweet potato French fries and burritos in it. The tortilla for the burrito turned out nicely crispy, but I didn't leave it in the air fryer long enough for it to be crunchy. The sweet potato fries came out nice. I've tried making crispy chickpeas with Italian seasoning, but they weren't to my liking. However, I have loved everything else that I've made in the air fryer. Sometimes I just put a quick meal in it, just to re-heat it, since I don't use a microwave. I just think that using the air fryer is healthier than using microwaves, and I love that I don't need to put my food in a special box or anything for it to be really crispy. If you love fried chicken or fried fish, you'd love this little machine as much as I do!

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