Gov. Jared Polis and the Colorado Black Democratic Legislative Caucus on Wednesday honored "Daddy" Bruce Randolph, the late barbecue restaurant owner whose tradition of feeding the needy on Thanksgiving has endured in Denver for 55 years, on Wednesday.
“How many families have gathered around their dining room table before a holiday feast, courtesy of Daddy Bruce Randolph and the annual tradition he started,” Rep. Leslie Herod of Denver, who chairs the caucus, said in a statement. “His legacy lives on in the street that was named for him, Bruce Randolph High School, and the annual food giveaway which continues to feed thousands even after his passing.”
Polis and Herod were joined by other members of the caucus, Reps. Janet Buckner of Aurora, James Coleman of Denver and Jovan Melton of Aurora.
“Daddy Bruce Randolph was a giver," Coleman stated. "He created good jobs in his community, he inspired everyone around him by being a successful black business owner in the 1960s, and he provided a holiday feast to thousands of his neighbors when they needed it most.
“By bringing the community together to feed its hungry and homeless, he created a legacy that could outlive himself.”
Randolph opened Daddy Bruce’s Bar-B-Q on East 34th Avenue in Five Points in 1963. He began feeding the hungry in City Park on the holiday soon after, and his generosity to help the poor was legendary. In 1985 the street near his restaurant was renamed Bruce Randolph Avenue.
He lived modestly and died in 1994 at the age of 94. Donations, about $13,000, poured in for his funeral, and burial and surplus fed the needy on the next Thanksgiving. The event today is carried on by Epworth United Methodist Church and the Epworth Foundation.
“I’m thrilled to honor Daddy Bruce Randolph and the incredible legacy he has built," Polis said in a statement Wednesday. "Denver-Feed-A-Family is a tradition that has impacted Colorado families for the last 55 years and I commend Elder King Harris, Reverend Ronald Wooding and the Black Legislative Caucus for keeping it going. I’m honored to designate November 2019 as Colorado Feed-A-Family Month in Honor of Daddy Bruce Randolph.”
In February 2018, then-state Rep. Paul Rosenthal, a Democrat from Denver, and the Black Legislative Caucus presented a tribute to Randolph on the House floor and sponsored a breakfast that morning for Randolph's family, friends, supporters at the Old Supreme Court Chamber.
Food will be distributed to about 10,000 families on Nov. 23 thanks to donations and volunteers.
"If you give just one thing, you get three things back," Randolph famously said.