DENVER (KDVR) — A Denver nonprofit that helps feed homeless Coloradans is now in need of a home itself.
Feeding Denver’s Hungry has been told it needs to leave the warehouse its occupied for free for the past two years, to make way for a paying tenant, but that has left the organization and those it serves in limbo.
Jim Scharper founded the nonprofit back in 2011 after pulling himself out of homelessness.
“I’m an alcoholic and I was on the streets living in my truck. When I finally quit drinking and got my life together I wanted to pay it back to society,” he said.
Scharper started making sandwiches to give away to the homeless, but his efforts began to snowball, and pretty soon his nonprofit was feeding thousands of families in the Denver area.
In 2019, the organization moved into a 40,000 square foot warehouse on the 4500 block of Jason Street in north Denver where it’s been operating rent free.
“We served over 4 million meals this past year,” Scharper explained.
Scharper says demand for food has increased exponentially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Feeding Denver’s Hungry now also distributes food to homebound Coloradans and to people who have lost their jobs during the pandemic.
At one point, Scharper said 600 cars were pulling up to the warehouse each week to receive food. He now worries what will happen to those families.
“I’m very emotional about it, because it’s a loss. We’re not able to help people like we intended to,” he said.
The nonprofit is now giving away all of the food and supplies in its warehouse to other nonprofits.
He’s also now searching for a new warehouse for his nonprofit, and says he has made more than 100 phone calls without success.
Scharper is hoping to find someone who will generously let the nonprofit occupy 10,000 square feet of a warehouse free of charge, and is hopeful someone will come to the organization’s rescue.
“I believe everything happens for a reason and there’s another plan. We just have to wait and see what it is,” Scharper said.