Announcing our new free food box!
Published on June 3, 2023 by Luc VT
As of Thursday June 1, Circle City Mutual Aid Food Box Collective is launching its first free food box hosted by SoulShine Vegan Café in Broad Ripple. This free food box is open to all in need of food and will be stocked and maintained by ccma, friends + neighbors. Please reach out at circlecitymutualaidatgmaildotcom with suggestions or interest in contributing!
Read on to learn more about our adventures!
And where we may go next…
How We Got Here
At our March 2023 Community Forum, we talked about how we could best use funds raised in 2022 for a community free food fridge project. Instead of reinventing the wheel, we thought, “Why don’t we partner with some of the amazing groups that are already working in this space?” A few DMs and phone calls later, we suddenly found ourselves on our way to collect our very own reused NUVO newspaper box!
Where We’ll Be
We chose the Broad Ripple neighborhood after talking with Community Food Box Project. With their wisdom, we collaboratively determined this area of the city was in need of support. When thinking of locations in BRipp, we remembered seeing folks from SoulShine Vegan Café at the Mutual Aid Forum held at Ujamaa Community Bookstore in early 2023. After contacting Madison and Elijah, they enthusiastically and generously offered to host our food box!
Transforming the Box
The first step was decorating the food box. We held (several weekly) Paint Parties to create a masterpiece that we could all be proud of and want to take ownership of. It was a collaborative effort between ccma folks and kids and the people behind SoulShine Vegan Café.
Stocking the Box
The next step was to secure a supply of food. Through a connection with one of our sister organizations, Food Not Bombs, we partnered up with Rock Salt Food Pantry. They have played a significant part in setting our food box up for success. Additionally, we secured one-time individual donations from some of our organizers.
Finally, we needed to install the food box at Soulshine Vegan Café. On May 30th, Madison + Elijah hosted us at SoulShine for a Stock the Box Party to celebrate everyone’s hard work and contributions! The free food box is now open to all, no questions asked.
It was intimidating at first - we really did not know where to begin beyond painting the box or how we were going to have a continuous supply for our food box. It was truly inspiring to see how quickly and organically the community came together to be there with their neighbors.
Through this radical work, we are challenging the systems that create artificial scarcity and directly meeting our neighbors where they are. Mutual aid is about solidarity, not charity. It is the voluntary, reciprocal participatory assistance among equals - being there with - not for - our neighbors.
Of course, none of this would be possible without both one time and recurring donations. To date, we have raised over $1,200! The majority of our donations come from our sustaining monthly donors - many of whom are our organizers - in addition to our neighbors, friends, family, and spiritual communities. We are grateful for this community.
In-kind items that are in need:
- Powder baby formula
- Dry goods
- Canned goods
- Non-perishable meals
Thank you for supporting us!
circle city comrades
About Our Partners
Established in 2016, Community Food Box Project provides 24-hour emergency food assistance in neighborhoods facing food insecurity. Community Food Box project partners with schools, churches, community centers and businesses to install little free pantries for those in need, currently totaling 76 free food boxes across Indy.
Located a couple blocks west of the Monon Trail, SoulShine Vegan Cafe has been providing the northside of Indianapolis with fully vegan breakfast and comfort food options since 2022. Be sure to try a cinnamon roll or a breakfast burrito the next time you stop to donate!
Food Not Bombs
Food Not Bombs (FNB) is a loose-knit group of independent collectives, sharing free vegan and vegetarian food with others. The group believes that corporate and government priorities are skewed to allow hunger to persist in the midst of abundance. To demonstrate this, FNB serves surplus food gathered from grocery stores, bakeries and markets which would otherwise go to waste, or occasionally has already been thrown away.
Rock Salt Food Pantry
Rock Salt Food Pantry is a local food pantry that the CCMA Food Box Collective has partnered with to provide mutual support in order to best serve our neighbors.