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DENVER -- Jim Scharper knows what it is like to be homeless. Ten years ago, he was drunk and on the streets himself.
"I got some help through Denver Health and have been sober since," he said.
Because people helped him, Scharper decided to give back to the community, so he founded a food pantry called "Feeding Denver's Hungry."
"I started out making 25 sandwiches in my kitchen," he said. "Friends heard what I was doing and wanted to help."
He says 150 volunteers serve nearly 2,000 sandwiches every month.
They were doing just that on Thursday, when one of the people they were helping, and who was helping them, attacked Scharper.
"He was breaking down boxes," Scharper said. "There was a disagreement."
According to the police report, the suspect, identified as Quinton Boyd, tried to cut in line and became angry when he was called on it.
Scharper said he tried to get him away from the volunteers and other people in line.
"We went inside the Coalition for the Homeless. I was in the process of getting help to call police and he came from out of nowhere with something in his hand. I don't think it was just his fist. I think it was a pipe," Scharper said.
Scharper was hit with such force that it loosened two teeth and knocked out a couple of fillings.
"My jaw is sore," he said, "but I'll be all right."
Scharper said he forgives Boyd.
"I made a post on Facebook that I have no ill will towards him," he said. "I hope he gets some help."
Bystanders who witnessed the attack spotted Boyd at a bus stop on Colfax Thursday night.
They called police and officers took the suspect into custody.
"I think he may have used me as a way to get himself put in jail," Scharper said. "When he was arrested last night, he was like, 'Thank God I'm going to jail. I'll have a warm bed.'"
He said the assault speaks to a wider ranging problem about mental illness and escalating housing costs.
Work to be done
The founder told Contac7 that he won't let the assault, which put him in the hospital briefly, stop him from his mission of feeding Denver's hungry.
"There are a lot of people struggling," he said. "More so today, than 10 years ago when I was on the streets. Some people can barely afford housing and have no money for food."
The nonprofit has established a GoFundMe account to raise funds for more groceries.
"All donations, 100 percent, go back out in food that we buy from Food Bank of the Rockies," Scharper said.
He added that he feels so strongly about his work, that "we'll be out there again next month."