Denver chef Tajahi Cook was busy preparing, packing and distributing thousands of charity dinners for Thanksgiving Thursday morning, but when he saw a young man in need outside one of his headquarters, he stopped to serve the man a plate of hot food.
Cook opened a store in Denver’s Zeppelin Station and Avanti Food and Beverage food halls with a permanent staff of volunteers who started cooking Wednesday night and did not stop working Thursday morning.
Cook took time out with a man in need who sat outside Zeppelin Station on Thanksgiving morning, wrapped in a blanket and barefoot to talk to him and treat him to warm food.
It was the generous spirit of Cook and his team.
“I just want to bring some good to the world,” Cook said.
Cook, wife Danielle, and a team of over 100 volunteers worked hard on the third annual Ms. Betty’s Harvest Madsgiving is a Thanksgiving event in which Cook collaborates with local farmers, chefs, food distributors, volunteers and organizations to help those in need prepare and distribute thousands of Thanksgiving dishes throughout the Front Ridge.
Volunteers with touching stories turned to Cook and offered their help at the celebration.
“We’re talking about lovely moms joining us this year in respect of their deceased daughter,” Cook said. “We’re talking about people in their 20s who can’t afford to go home, people in their 60s and 70s who just don’t have a family and have nowhere to go. I actually see it has an impact on both sides – the people who are in need and who are being fed, and those who volunteer to help. This is an emotional conversation. “
Cook, who said he had humble beginnings, often cooked and distributed food for the homeless while traveling around Denver. Over the past few days of Thanksgiving, Cook and his team have been doing the same on a larger scale.
Home-cooked meals will be distributed to Salvation Army locations, church groups, Volunteers of America, and people across the Front Ridge who could use the holiday spirit.
On the menu: cranberry sauce, green beans, mashed potatoes with gravy, fried turkey, smoked pork and chicken.
With little room for stoves at Zeppelin Station, Nikolai Weber began building grills near a food hall in Denver. The Zeppelin station kitchen manager prepared trays of stained birds and bathed in the aroma of grilled meat.
“It’s nice to be here to feed people,” Weber said. “It’s nice to see people doing, not just talking.”
Inside the restaurant, the benches that patrons usually sit on were packed with trays of food waiting to be packed by fussy volunteers.
Marissa Micheli and her 10-year-old son Rocco shovel potatoes into containers destined for hungry bellies in the Denver area.
Miceli saw a call for volunteers online and wanted to spend Thanksgiving helping others.
“We are so lucky,” said Marissa Micheli. “This is the least we can do. It is my duty to educate a gentleman. “
Rocco carried trays of food throughout the building, preparing them to be packed into trucks for on-site delivery.
“There are people who are less fortunate than me and I just want to help them,” he said.