FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Over the years, Bob Winans has collected thousands of "thank yous." It's that payment that's kept him coming back to the Catholic Charities of Northern Colorado in Fort Collins year after year.
"Every person who comes through, 'Thank you,' 'Thank you,' 'Thank you', it’s a great feeling," Winans described.
Winans is the man who serves up hot meals to people who have fallen on hard times. He first came to the rescue mission 22 years ago to volunteer with friends, but the relationships he's formed over the years have kept him coming back.
"There’s families coming through a lot. It’s really difficult around the holidays; you try and give them the best meal you can and make their day," Winans said.
"I can see he's really made a difference in a lot of people's lives," said friend Mike Dixon.
The mission is one of the oldest homeless outreach centers in northern Colorado. Each year, it provides nearly 42,000 free lunches to the homeless.
"Thirty years ago when Sister Mary Allen Murphy started the mission, the hope was they could eradicate homelessness or put a huge dent in it, yet 30 years later, the need is as great as it’s ever been," said Joe Sarr, Operations Manager at Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Denver.
Thanks to volunteers like Winans, that need is always met with a soft smile and warm, easy grace. He's always the first volunteer to step in for a shift when others can't.
"This past 4th of July, we were all talking about what we were gonna do," Dixon said. "So we said, 'What's Bob doing? Bob's going down to the mission.'"
For as giving as Winans is, he is even more humble.
"It's very satisfying to give back," Winans said.
Molly Hendrickson anchors Denver7 in the mornings from 4:30-7 a.m. She also features a different 7Everyday Hero each week on Denver7. Follow Molly on Facebook here and Twitter here. To nominate a hero in your life, click here.