Although the legendary comic is no longer with us, his warmth and generosity stay with us in spirit.
Over five years ago the world lost a precious gem, Robin Williams. While making us cry tears of joy through his unmatched performances, he continuously gave back to the community without ever disclosing or taking credit for his generous acts. According to NBC's Seattle affiliate KING 5-TV, the legendary comedian raised nearly $50,000 for a food bank in Seattle between 2004-2008.
Williams, whose tragic suicide occurred on August 11, 2014, began to extend his support for the West Seattle Food Bank in 2004. The money collected from a stand-up he performed at the Showbox nightclub in Seattle were all donated to the food bank. The warm and generous nature of the Jumanji actor left everyone speechless including the West Seattle Food Bank executive director Fran Yeatts. "I was just astounded," said Yeatts.
Following his first performance in 2004, Williams returned to Seattle in 2007 and then in 2008 for more shows. All the proceeds from both these shows amounted to nearly $50,000 which were donated to the West Seattle Food Bank. Praising the actor for his kind gestures and exceptional understanding of the people in need, Yeatts said, "Robin Williams is the type of person who really understands there are a lot of people who are really, really struggling."
Thankfully, Williams' charity still continues to make a significant impact on people's lives, especially the ones who massively depend on and volunteer for the food bank. Volunteers felt a little empty while they were loading a truck with groceries in 2014. "It's threefold, actually," said one of the volunteers, Mike Cervino, according to USA Today. "One because he was a great comedian. Two, because he donated here, and three because people really rely on that here."
The volunteers at the Food Bank are constantly inspired by Williams, who despite struggling, left an outstanding impression on everyone especially Bill Bacon. The volunteer who himself has been struggling with bipolar disorder says he completely understands the darkness of depression that overshadows one's life. Instead of focusing on how Williams' life ended, Bacon prefers to cherish and be inspired by the way the father of three lived his fruitful life.
"In spite of the problems that some people have, they can still aspire to great things," he added. "I think Robin Williams is a classic example of that." Another volunteer at the food bank, Aaron Ellis, recalled meeting the iconic performer backstage at the Showbox in 2004 when Williams first came to town. That thing Ellis didn't realize until he actually met the comic legend was the fact that the two had a lot of things in common. "He was this real guy, this regular Joe that had the same issues," he said.
Ellis too has been battling depression and addiction. Witnessing Williams' humanity and his willingness to open up about his shortcomings helped the volunteers see past his celebrity image. For Ellis, the Mrs. Doubtfire actor was just a regular guy from West Seattle, who effortlessly made those few minutes of their meeting rather special. "He said it was an honor for him to be able to do these things, to give back," he added. "That meant the world to me. It solidified my sobriety to this day."