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Funky Town Fridge launches campaign for mutual aid project

The grassroots collective is dedicated to uplifting food apartheid communities in the City of Fort Worth.

Funky Town Fridge, a community solidarity fridge that offers free food 24/7 at 4 locations, has announced a crowd-source fundraising campaign to secure a new distribution center in the heart of Fort Worth’s historic Stop Six neighborhood.

The organization seeks $500,000 to buy the property at 5037 E. Rosedale Street that was previously the last grocery store in the predominantly African American community. Most recently, the building housed Morning Supermarket. It was built in 1952 and operated under a series of grocers until closing and being placed for sale in 2021.

Funky Town Fridge envisions repurposing the building as a space for mutual aid in Fort Worth to flourish and grow. Organizers view the building as a sanctuary that is the last thing residents in Stop Six have to hold onto, and say it should be a safe haven in the hands of community members rather than another business that could contribute to gentrification. Plans include using the space for gatherings, classes, day care, toy drives, celebrations, a free clothing store and other community needs.

Community organizers also believe the building could be used to house larger fridges. Existing units are located in Southside Fort Worth, the Polytechnic Heights neighborhood, on Campus Drive and in Stop Six.

Fort Worth’s Stop Six neighborhood, home to the former Morning Supermarket property, is designated as a food desert by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It lacks grocery stores or farmers markets within a convenient distance. Residents travel a mile or more to purchase fresh produce. Food deserts typically rely heavily on convenience stores that sell mostly processed foods which are high in calories and low in nutrients.

Funky Town Fridge was founded as a mutual aid endeavor in 2020 by Kendra Richardson, who was born and raised in Stop Six. Mutual aid is a form of solidarity-based support. Members of the community unite to collectively address a common struggle and care for each other. Rather than recruit volunteers, organizers of Funky Town Fridge have decentralized the process by providing a resource that enables individuals to self-direct which kind of involvement suits them.

As part of its fundraising campaign, Funky Town Fridge has begun sharing a series of videos on social media that provide the history behind the store and context for why the purchase means so much to the community.

Organizers point out that Stop Six is known for its vibrant culture and significant achievements in athletics and music. They believe the stories are important to share because the people of Stop Six are usually spoken for by individuals who don’t live or work there. The videos feature people who grew-up in and around the Cavile Place public housing community, which was home to generations of residents in the neighborhood before it was demolished in 2020.

Giving options for the campaign include subscribing to Funky Town Fridge’s Patreon at patreon.com/FridgeTalkTV for $1 monthly. Online donations are also accepted in any amount via Cash App ($FunkyTownFridge), Venmo (@FunkyTownFridge), Zelle and Paypal (FunkyTownFridge@gmail.com).

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Mindia Whittier