DENVER — Frank Ewert is more than just a friendly face at We Don’t Waste’s weekly food market at Garden Place Academy. He knows exactly what the people he is helping are going through.
After two operations on his hips and one on his neck, he was in need of help.
“Originally, I was on this side of the aisle,” he said while pointing across the table. “I needed food. I was on disability.”
Ewert knew he couldn’t receive without also giving back, so he made a commitment to volunteer with We Don’t Waste once he got better.
“I still remember the day at the market when he asked about volunteer opportunities,” volunteer coordinator Barona Dinapoli said.
Dinapoli said Ewert has been at every market since that day, sometimes in less than ideal conditions.
“We hold this market year-round, which means we've had 100 degree days and we've had 15 degree days,” she said.
We Don’t Waste provides free food recovered from places like restaurants, caterers and food distributors. That means they can provide high-quality produce, meats, grains and dairy to anyone who needs it.
“It's not off-the-shelf stuff that the grocery stores don't want anymore,” Ewert said. “It is fruit and vegetables that are straight from the farm, straight from the companies that make it.”
Ewert said his favorite part is helping kids. He said he often tears up when offering kids grapes, chocolate or other things they haven’t had in months.
“We take for granted food, you know? Like the candy bar they haven't seen in months or years. So that's where I feel that it's just great what we do,” he said.
Ewert is also hopeful his generosity pays dividends later, when those he’s helping now get the chance to volunteer themselves.
“Maybe when they grow up, they’ll take my spot,” Ewert said.
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