DENVER (CBS4) – Olympic gold medalist Missy Franklin was quick to share a smile while dishing out Thanksgiving meals to people in need. She hopes her name will bring awareness to the area’s homeless problem.

Franklin hopes her name will help draw attention to Samaritan House, a local homeless shelter. She joined volunteers from the Westin and Sheraton hotels to serve a Thanksgiving meal to those without.

“Being here I thought is so fun because I get to meet incredible people. I’m able to kind of give back as much as I can,” Franklin said.

They served dinner to more than 200 people in need and Franklin was honored to help.

“Just put a smile on people’s faces. I think that’s what Thanksgiving is all about and I think as a community Colorado needs to be thankful for each other,” she said.

“All the children of our volunteers, they were like a little gaggle of Missy lovers and they were standing there in awe of her and she signed every single autograph,” volunteer Susan Stiff said.

While having an Olympic medalist serve them Thanksgiving dinner is a treat in itself, Franklin did not want the day to be about her.

“I’m kind of trying to get away from that a little bit today. I don’t really want to be here as a celebrity. I want to be here as just myself and hopefully that’s enough to make people smile,” she said.

PHOTO GALLERY: Missy Franklin’s Whirlwind Post-Olympics Tour

Franklin was all smiles, grinning from ear to ear, as she served up mashed potatoes and stuffing. She hopes to pass on her happiness to those around her.

“I’m very, very fortunate and there aren’t as many people as fortunate as I am and I just want to share my happiness with everyone else.”

It was the 11th year Samaritan House has served Thanksgiving dinner to Denver’s homeless. Franklin hopes to join them again next year.


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