(COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.) — Mitt Romney rolled up his sleeves and used his teeth to rip open plastic food packaging during a stop at a food bank, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee joining in with volunteers and helping to sort food heading straight for Colorado families affected by the devastating wildfires.
“I learned how to open plastic,” Romney joked after opening the Kraft Macaroni and Cheese package.
Romney sorted through packages of food — pasta, cereal boxes and granola bars — and used a black marker to cross off the barcodes (to prevent resale, he explained) and ensure the expiration date had not passed.
“There’s been a huge outpouring of support in the community to provide food to folks who’ve been affected by the fires here,” Romney said at the Care and Share food bank located in southern Colorado. “It’s just an inspiring thing to see this many people have stepped up to make a difference.”
Romney said the food bank typically sees 400,000 pounds of food donated each year, but in the past few weeks had received more than a million and a half pounds.
“And the experience here, heart wrenching as it is for those who have lost property and memories and the loss of two lives in the fire here, there’s also another side of the story and that’s the story of people helping people,” he said. “And you’re inspired by the great qualities of the human spirit that are evidenced by the generosity of the people who contribute here at Care and Share.”
Romney went on to encourage people from around the country to visit Colorado, noting that despite the fires that ravaged hundreds of homes and took two lives, the region is still, “as beautiful as it’s always been.”
“But what can people do that are from Boston and New York and Chicago?” he asked. “Well, you can come to Colorado and vacation this summer.
“People are staying away because they think the whole areas been burned out, and it’s not,” he said. “Tourists need to come back and stay in hotels and go to local restaurants and purchase local merchandise.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Jeremy Diamond, CNN
Mike Price, EastIdahoNews.com
Stephen Collinson, CNN