DENVER — Through his grief, Feeding Denver's Hungry founder, Jim Scharper, honored his friend, Corky Blankenship, by way of community outreach for those experiencing homelessness.
Scharper and his volunteers at Feeding Denver's Hungry put together 400 bags of food and other essentials to give out to the homeless on Sunday.
Blankenship's great-nephew, Justin Karuzas, said his uncle was admitted into the hospital for COVID-19 about three weeks ago. He lost his battle with the novel coronavirus early Friday morning.
Blankenship was well-known as an advocate for the LGBTQ+ community in Denver. Friends and family said he also dedicated time to advocating for those experiencing homelessness.
"He's always had a community voice," Scharper said. "That's how I met him many moons ago."
Because Blankenship spent a lot of his time giving back to the community, friends said it was only fitting to honor him by doing the same. Scharper said he thinks about the last time he was with Blankenship.
"It was two weeks ago, it was the last time I was with him, and it was here. We were putting together boxes of food for people," Scharper said.
He said his dear friend also loved to dance.
"His last words to me was to keep on dancing," Scharper said. "That meant a lot to me because everything about him was about having fun and dancing and not worrying about what other people think."
On Thursday, volunteers will pass out 800 bags of food to people in need in honor of Blankenship.
Karuzas said his Uncle Corky was an inspiration to many. Family and friends were still working on funeral arrangements but said there are ways for the public to honor him if they wish. Blankenship's family invited the public to donate in his name to Feeding Denver's Hungry, Rainbow Alley or the Denver Dumb Friends League.
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