Denver’s Daddy Bruce Randolph Thanksgiving carries on his legacy

November 27, 2014 - bbq set

Daddy Bruce volunteers broach packages

Watch DPTV with Molly Hughes with today’s tip stories.

Tens of thousands of people along a Front Range will lay down to a Thanksgiving cooking on Thursday in a durability bequest to a poverty-stricken charitable who began a tradition of giving scarcely 50 years ago.

“Daddy Bruce” Randolph fed a needy and homeless for giveaway on Thanksgiving by his Denver grill corner and a integrity of his heart.

Bruce died in 1994 during a age of 94, yet his munificence lives on for a 64,000 people this year who will suffer a normal turkey dish with all of a trimmings.

Daddy Bruce volunteers

Randolph began feeding people for giveaway in City Park on Thanksgiving Day in a late-1960s. By a mid-1980s, tens of thousands lined adult outward his eatery for Daddy Bruce holiday fare.

“His bequest is that we are all desirous to give back, generally during this time, and to give to a reduction fortunate,” pronounced Mayor Michael Hancock.

Hancock, who grew adult in Denver, has memories of Randolph station in front Daddy Bruce’s B-B-Q, 1629 E. 34th Ave., now Bruce Randolph Avenue, toll a repast bell to embark a Thanksgiving meal.

“Thousands were lined up. It was amazing,” Hancock recalled.

As an adult, Hancock became a volunteer, fasten others like him who “picked adult a baton.”

By a 1980s, as Randolph’s recognition and fable — formed on his munificent ways — soared, volunteers were assimilated by teams of corporate sponsors. Taxi cabs lined adult to take dishes to shut-ins, a aged and a infirmed.

Beyond Randolph’s munificence during Thanksgiving, he also fed people in jubilee of Christmas, Easter and his birthday — Feb. 15. He orderly wardrobe drives and spearheaded Easter-egg hunts in City Park. In 1985, Randolph and his employees flashy some-more than 20,000 eggs for that year’s hunt. Scores of volunteers, including Denver military officers, helped censor a eggs.

Randolph lived in a simple, frugally furnished unit above a restaurant. Children walking along East 34th Avenue — generally in a afternoon, when Randolph was famous to locate a snooze given he mostly started cooking daily during 3 a.m. — would call adult to his window, “Daddy Bruce, Daddy Bruce!”

If Randolph peeked out or stepped onto a balcony, a children would squeal: “Candy! Candy!”

He kept bags of candy in his room, and treats would sleet down on a children.

Now, a Epworth Foundation carries on Randolph’s mission.

“He was a loyal humanitarian, a amicable entrepreneur,” pronounced a Rev. Ronald Wooding, a substructure spokesman.

This year, a nonprofit gathered, packaged and distributed about 8,000 baskets — any of that feeds 8 — with a assistance of about 900 volunteers. Supply trucks rolled into northeast Denver about midnight Friday, and volunteers worked by a night into Saturday afternoon. About 4,000 people lined adult to accept a baskets, and Metro Taxi drivers and volunteers delivered many of a rest. Some baskets were sent to other Front Range cities.

Daddy Bruce Randolph

This year’s baskets were filled with a turkey, stuffing, crushed potatoes, immature beans, corn, macaroni and cheese, cake mix, Jiffy brew and cranberries. Each basket cost a substructure about $30.

Randolph was innate in 1900 in farming Arkansas, nearby Pine Bluff. His kin divorced when he was young, and he was lifted by relatives, including his grandmother, a liberated worker who taught him to cook. Randolph attended propagandize until third grade.

At age 20, with income from a hotel pursuit in Pine Bluff, Randolph bought a sow for $5. He butchered and grilled it with his grandmother’s tip sauce. Randolph sole sandwiches for a dime and done a profit. It was his introduction to a grill business.

In 1959 Randolph done his approach to Denver, where his son, Bruce Randolph Jr., a coiffeur during a time, lived. Randolph worked as a janitor for a while, yet his heart, talent and destiny were in barbecue.

In 1963, with a $1,000 bank loan, Randolph bought a array and set adult emporium in his son’s backyard, catering for a grocery sequence and a Denver Broncos Football Club. The following year, Randolph started a grill on East 34th in a locality that was once a house.

By a 1980s, Randolph was worshiped in his adopted home town. The University of Colorado during Denver bestowed him with an titular grade in letters and humanities in “recognition of charitable service.” Birthday greetings from President Ronald Reagan were displayed.

Randolph was shamed by a attention.

“The Lord give us all something to do in life. Yeah. One thing He didn’t give me is speaking. I’m not no speaker,” Randolph told The Denver Post in 1985. “I’m a cooker.”

In 1988, Randolph’s businesses ran into financial straits. New side ventures — a pizzeria and bakery — were failing. The open lifted income to assist Daddy Bruce, yet a dual businesses went under.

A year later, his beloved, longtime “Bar-B-Q” corner was close down by a city since of “delinquent taxes.” Randolph never publicly asked for help, yet others spoke for him, and a open again rose to a occasion, collecting supports to compensate a taxation bill.

The dual episodes and Randolph’s age — he was pulling 90 — slowed him down.

“I’ve seen a lot of H2O go over a dam,” Randolph pronounced during a 92nd birthday celebration. In 1993 Daddy Bruce hung adult his apron, revelation he was tired.

Penniless, Randolph died in his nap in 1994.

Broncos owners Pat Bowlen paid for his funeral, hold during a New Hope Baptist church and attended by some-more than 1,500 people.

The Epworth Foundation took over ” Daddy Bruce’s Thanksgiving” 10 years ago.

“It still resonates with people, when we hear a name Daddy Bruce — as apple cake is to America, Daddy Bruce is to Denver,” Hancock said.

Wooding deemed this year’s debate a success based, in part, on a series of corporate sponsors and volunteers.

The nonprofit was aiming for 10,000 baskets yet had to scale back.

“We finished adult with a (monetary) shortfall this year,” Wooding said. “A lot of donors, for whatever reason, have cut back.”

Epworth was about $18,000 in a red as of Monday.

“After this week, we’ll lay down and see what went right and what we can do improved subsequent year,” Wooding said.

The goal goes on.

“This is Thanksgiving. Be mindful, even yet we have taken caring of this day, it is usually one day,” Wooding said. “There are people out there via a year that need some-more people removing involved, some-more people giving.”

Kieran Nicholson: 303-954-1822, or

Denver Feed a Family

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