Blessing in disguise: Community reaction to local church theft helps expand charity

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LAKEWOOD, Colo. — A local charity is saying a crime against them was a blessing in disguise because of the community’s support.

Joy’s Kitchen delivers food to hungry people in the Denver area. Its leaders say they help more than 1,000 families each month.

Last week, a trailer belonging to Joy’s Kitchen was in the Westwoods Community Church parking lot when someone stole it.

Expensive tools were inside the stolen trailer.

The day after the nonprofit shared their heartbreaking theft story on FOX31, they received an outpouring of support from the community.

The owners of Contractors Supply, Inc. donated $3,000 worth of tools to the nonprofit.

An anonymous owner also donated a brand-new trailer.

“It’s amazing, this is so big,” Joy’s Kitchen founder Kathy Stanley said. “We can just help so many more people.”

The new trailer is a bigger version of the one stolen from the church parking lot.

The charity plans to use every inch of the additional space to expand the Joy’s Kitchen mission and make it mobile.

“We’re going to turn this into a full-functioning mobile food bank complete with refrigeration and freezers for folks,” Stanley said. “So we can roll up to a neighborhood that’s hard hit with food insecurity and take all of that beautiful rescued food that we get and send it straight out to them.”

“I’ve got some brand-new tools that I can do some stuff in the trailer with and I will,” Larry Stanley said.

Larry Stanley, 80, also known as Papa Stan, is going to lead the mobile food truck construction project with the tools donated to him.

Community members have already pledged to help create the mobile food truck with a community build event in November.

“My faith in humanity has been restored. Now, the world is a good place,” Papa Stan said.

The new trailer will be called the Joy Ride, named after Stanley’s mother who passed away from cancer.

Stanley’s mother Joy inspired the family’s mission to fight local starvation, fueling the creation of the nonprofit.

Joy Ride should be rolling out on local streets in January.

Nicole Fierro wrote this report.

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