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Project Angel Heart: Five million meals served

Lanny Dick has been volunteering with Project Angel Heart for over two decades. He was there in 1991 when the non-profit served its first meals, he worked with Bargreen Ellingson to build the new kitchen where Project Angel Heart now is based, and yesterday he put the finishing touches on the 5,000,000th meal served. In honor of the first meal -- Racines donated lasagna for a dozen -- the menu was again lasagna.

See also: Project Angel Heart breaks new ground

Volunteers, friends, family members and even a couple of mascots gathered at Project Angel Heart's headquarters to commemorate the 5,000,000th meal served by the charity. Rocky, the Denver Nuggets mascot, and Edson the Eagle, mascot for the Colorado Rapids, were among those in attendance as Erin Pulling, president and CEO of PAH, gave a short speech and Karla Maraccini, director of community partnerships for Governor John W. Hickenlooper, read an official proclamation in honor of the occasion.

Project Angel Heart started serving meals for those coping with life-threatening illnesses in 1991, and that remains its mission -- although the number of people the non-profit serves has expanded. Today the kitchen puts out between 900 and 950 meals a day, which are then flash-frozen and delivered to clients around the Denver metro area and in Colorado Springs.

The meals are made with with local and organic ingredients whenever possible and cooked by professional chefs, culinary interns and volunteers. "We focus on quality food because of the special needs of many of our clients," explains Amy Daly, vice president of development. With each delivery, those clients receive a week's worth of frozen meals.

Project Angel Heart is expected to serve 530,000 meals this year -- all of which will be delivered by volunteers like Lanny Dick. If you'd like to help out, find out more at the Project Angel Heart website.

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Ben Landreth