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LAKEWOOD, Colo. — She has dedicated her life to helping the less fortunate, but thieves struck a crippling blow to her business.
Kathy Stanley helps feed hungry families in Colorado through the nonprofit Joy's Kitchen. That mission came to a halt earlier this week, when someone stole her food trailer. About $10,000 worth of her father's tools were inside.
"Karma will get you... it's that simple," said her father, Larry "Stan" Stanley. "It really hurt."
Seven years ago, Kathy Stanley partnered with Foodbank of the Rockies and others to start Joy's Kitchen, a nonprofit dedicating to feeding hungry families across the Denver metro area.
She runs the business on a shoestring budget. Her 80-year-old father, a former Denver firefighter, helps with deliveries.
"In the grocery stores, we go there daily, we have a route we go to and we rescue all of their perishable food, and immediately hand it out without restrictions or requirements to people that are needing food," she told Contact7.
Stanley and her father pick up and deliver the food in their two vans — feeding about 250 families a week.
"We drive a very old vehicle," she said.
They store food and their trailers at Westwoods Community Church in Lakewood.
Stan is also a contractor.
"He still works, he makes minimal income, so that's how he supplements his income," said Stanley.
On Monday, he had placed all of his tools — air compressors, routers, power saws and more — in the van, which was parked outside the church. The trailer had been chained to a tree and the wheels were blocked.
On Tuesday morning, the van — and Stan's $10,000 worth of tools — were gone.
"Of course I'm mad. Mad beyond belief. This puts me out of business. To work 30 years and then have some SOB steal my livelihood?" Stan said.
Stanley says the thieves damaged her business more than they'll ever know.
"It's really important we get it back," she said. "We'd really like to serve and love the community as much as we can. That is definitely what we need to do that."
But despite the devastating blow, Stanley says she forgives the people responsible.
Her mission will, somehow, continue, she told Contact7.
"My heart is actually with the people who took this," Stanley said. "I can't imagine the place you would be to have to do that."
Stanley says she'll make her rounds the rest of the week using just one trailer.
The church didn't have any surveillance cameras, so Lakewood police don't have a lot to go on.
If you have any information, call police at 303-987-7111.
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