At the age of 61 Bruce Randolph opened Daddy Bruce’s Barbecue Restaurant in Denver’s Five Points neighborhood. Five Points, named for the surrounding intersections Washington Street, 27th Street, 26th Avenue and Welton Street, was sometimes referred to as the “Harlem of the west.”
You don’t make a lot of money with a barbecue joint in Five Points, but Daddy Bruce didn’t care. Every year he and his son, Bruce Randolph Jr., who runs a barbeque shack in Boulder, offered a free Thanksgiving dinner for the needy. They paid for it out of their own pocket. Their motto was: “It’s better to give than receive.”
Long before this tradition became an event where thousands of the needy turned out, donors began showing up. Food was donated from businesses, community organizations and individuals. People volunteered to help cook, clean and serve. It was not unusual to see local professional athletes, politicians, clergy, police, firefighters and regular citizens on Thanksgiving and days before serving in some way. As it became a media event, more and more gave.
In 1991, in recognition of Daddy Bruce’s contribution to the community Mayor Frederico Pena renamed East Twenty-third Avenue “Bruce Randolph Avenue.”
Daddy Bruce has since gone on to his great reward. His efforts have been carried on in various ways, through various organizations.
One person can make a difference. Together we can make a big difference.
Happy Thanksgiving everybody.