The idea of feeding hamburgers and hot dogs to the homeless in Lower Downtown on Sunday was born at Nicol Ocampo's kitchen table three weeks ago, but the story goes back much further.
Her husband, Mike Nowlin, told her how his family used to buy stacks of hamburgers and hand them out to the homeless they encountered on the street.
"I told him my family had never had the money to do that," said Nicol, 34, as she took burger and hot dog orders from disheveled men a block from the Denver Rescue Mission.
"We're not rich now, by any means, but we have enough," she said.
For Mike, 29, it wasn't merely an act of kindness.
"My Uncle Danny — Danny Ortega — was homeless," he said. "He committed suicide in 1996."
After a long pause, he added: "Sometimes, it's not that their families give up on them. It's that they give up on themselves."
Mike started his own business, Mile High Towing & Recovery, two years ago with three secondhand trucks.
Mike and Nicol, the company's chief financial officer, surveyed their books and took out $1 for each impounded car or call for roadside assistance.
That was more than just a gesture for the couple, who have seven children.
They spent the money on supplies: 240 hamburgers, 260 hot dogs, buns, 300 cookies and 300 bags of chips.
At daylight Sunday, the sound of sizzling burgers filled their kitchen, as a George Foreman Grill and two large frying pans went full-bore.
Mike's top driver and manager, George Garcia, boiled hot dogs at his house and brought along his children to help prepare plates.
They acted with extraordinary politeness, looking the men in the eyes when they spoke and calling each one "Sir."
Gordon Thomas, 57, released from prison a month ago, said he probably would not have eaten until dinnertime at a shelter.
"It's very gracious," he said. "And I'm grateful to them. I would guess they're God-loving people."
Gerard Pelletier, 33, said the families' timing, after the Thanksgiving celebrations are over, spoke volumes.
"Everybody cares on Thanksgiving and Christmas," he said. "But when you're homeless, you're hungry every day... I thank these people for caring."