anthony photoSAMSUNG

Anthony & Carmen Cisneros   Marty Tjelmeland 

Walking into Sanford’s Grub and Pub, I found Marty Tjelmeland and Anthony Cisneros among friends in their regular after-work hang out, enjoying some good conversation, libations and food.  Warm handshakes, smiles and fun attitudes abounded during my short encounter with them. After sitting down and chatting for just a short hour, it was evident to me that these two men live to give and perhaps give to live. The following blog post is a snapshot of these two important volunteers who catered the FoCo Cafe’s MAYDAY! event at O’dell Brewing Company. All of the profits earned from catering the event were donated to FoCo Cafe. And after reading the interview that follows, you’ll understand why it’s not surprising that they did this.

Marty, the main chef for CSU’s Zeta Tau Alpha Sorority  as well as a scuba instructor at High Plains Scuba, has had a passion for cooking his whole life. After working in construction for 16 years, he decided to make his dream of becoming a chef a reality. Anthony, a financial advisor, summed up his impressive career background in less than 30 seconds: “attorney, business owner, financial advisor.”  But well beyond their professional interests, it’s their philanthropic interests that really capture who they are as people. “Everyone wants to be a part of something bigger than themselves,” Anthony stated. His philosophy is that if everyone could take one of their talents and do some good, we could do wonders in the world. “Cooking is the way we’ve found to sustainably and continuously give back to our community,” Anthony adds.  Marty follows with emphasizing the importance of giving while expecting nothing in return. They have both found that once you start to give, it becomes addictive…you just want to give more!

Marty met Jeff, one of FoCo Cafe’s founders. at a charity event for another nonprofit in town about a year ago. Marty and Anthony were catering an event for Hand Up Cooperative, when Jeff introduced himself and described the FoCo Cafe’s vision and mission.  A year and a generous dishwasher donation later (from Zeta Tau Alpha Sorority), Marty, Anthony and the volunteers of the FoCo Cafe have formed a common bond in providing healthy and delicious food to all in our community.

Anthony and Marty have been catering non-profit charity events for a long time. Anthony and his wife, Carmen, philanthropists at heart, were searching for a way to give back to the community (among the many other charities they give to) and decided that they loved cooking, and would therefore invest in food preparation equipment in order to cater charity events. It wasn’t long before Marty joined forces with them, along with countless unnamed volunteers who assist with food and equipment preparation behind the scenes.  Within the first two years of purchasing the equipment, they catered 17 events and consequently donated over $100,000 to different charities along the Front Range!

They are two very inspired people, spreading the message of giving to all they meet. Case in point, as I was interviewing them at Sanford’s Grub and Pub, one of the managers, Aiden, stopped to chat. Within 2 minutes, Marty had Aiden committing to donating food and labor to the MayDay! event! There was no hesitation, just an overwhelming urge to give – it is contagious!

Before I ended my conversation with Anthony and Marty, I had one truly important question to ask them in the spirit of the FoCo Cafe – what was their favorite food to eat? Both responded at the same time, “Anthony’s Steak and Chicken Fajitas.”  Which is what they prepared for the MAYDAY! event hosted by O’dell Brewing Company, what a treat!

Marty and Anthony will be the first to tell you that food has the power to bring people together, and it’s truly evidenced in their dedication to assist nonprofits all over the Front Range with their cooking.

Note to readers: Marty also informed me that Zeta Tau Alpha Sorority contributes to a charity very worthy of mention. Tremendous Hearts is an organization that assists orphaned children whose parents have fallen victim to the AIDS epidemic in South Africa.