ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED TUESDAY, JULY 10, 2012: We knew Mitt Romney was going to be in Colorado Tuesday. We didn’t know he was going to be right here in Colorado Springs.
The Republican presidential nominee made a surprise visit to Care and Share Food Bank off Powers and Constitution.
Not only did Romney meet with victims of the Waldo Canyon Fire, but he also rolled up his sleeves and got to work.
Tuesday afternoon Romney met and talked with about a half-dozen families affected by the destructive fire. After a roundtable discussion with, he toured the Care and Share facility.
The nominee not only took a look around, but he even pitched in to help. He worked alongside volunteers, helping sort, repack and prepare food and care packages for families in need.
11 News spoke with a woman who volunteered for the first time Tuesday. She got to work with the presidential candidate. She tells us she was most surprised that he got his hands dirty.
"He didn't just observe, he didn't just shake everyone's hands. He actually took the time to look through all the food, go through the bar codes. Everything we were doing. So it was nice to see him put in the effort,” said volunteer Marissa Guerrero.
Guerrero says she was also an evacuee as thousands of others. She said volunteering was her way of giving back to the community.
It was a nice surprise for Guerrero that the day she volunteered was the day that Romney paid a visit.
"He came and he was very down to earth and extremely nice. He shook hands with every person that was volunteering today. He got his hands dirty and asked us what we were doing and what we liked about Care and Share. It was really fun,” Guerrero said.
It was also a special day for an 11-year-old volunteer. Emma Downing held a food drive and fundraiser last Saturday. The yard sale and raffle was to benefit Care and Share. Monday she dropped off her donations, and Tuesday she was able to work side by side with Romney.
Emma says she didn’t expect to meet him and only volunteered in order to help make a difference. She raised 76 pounds of food and $83.26 in monetary donations, which she says will be able to buy 908 pounds of food.
She wants to encourage other kids her age to never give up even if people criticize your efforts.
“It’s important because I know that if that situation with the Waldo Canyon Fire ever happened to my family we would never be able to recover,” Emma said.
Romney also gave a brief speech. Not only did he encourage others to visit the Colorado Springs community in an effort to boost our economy.
He also thanked all the employees, volunteers and board members at Care and Share. He shook each of their hands and thanked them by name for all their hard work.
To give you an idea of just how hard they did work, Care and Share raised 1.5 million pounds of food since the start of the fire fundraising.
Normally it takes a whole year to raise only 400,000 pounds.
Romney was in Grand Junction earlier Tuesday, where he held a town-hall-style meeting at Central High School. During that meeting, Romney criticized President Obama's policies toward business, calling the president "outsourcer-in-chief."
Romney is next scheduled to fly to Houston Tuesday evening ahead of a planned speech to the NAACP annual convention on Wednesday morning.