BBQ for the homeless in Detroit raises thousands with one-day flash fundraiser

/ Source: TODAY

People from all over the world came together through an online 24-hour flash fundraiser to raise more than $25,000 for a weekly barbecue for the homeless in Detroit.

The weekly barbecue has taken place on a street corner in Detroit every Saturday for the last eight years, often serving more than 200 people, and run entirely by volunteers. But recently, the future of the barbecue was uncertain because zoning changes were removing the standard location.

That was until Mallory Brown, a self-described “social entrepreneur” who was introduced to the barbecue five years ago, had the idea of saving the barbecue with a flash fundraiser. Brown set out to raise $10,000 to get them a permanent space and much needed supplies.

The premise of a flash fundraiser is pretty simple: identify a need, figure out how much it costs to fill that need, raise the money and then give it directly to the cause, all in just 24 hours.

“The whole goal is just to build community, build relationships,” said Mike Schmitt, founder of the community barbecue.

The barbecue’s flash fundraiser made its rounds on social media Tuesday resulting in the $10,000 being raised in just over two hours. In fact, within 24 hours the cause had raised more than $25,000.

Flash fundraisers through Crowdrise have been used to help secure a new home for a family in Haiti, outfit a community center in Mexico with educational supplies and meet essential health and sanitation needs in the wake of this year’s devastating earthquake in Nepal.

The fundraiser’s quick return rate allows donors to see exactly where their money is going and how it is being used.

“It’s not just writing a check hoping it goes somewhere good. You actually get a direct result and get to feel the whole emotion behind it,” Brown said.

With the more than $25,000 raised, the community barbecue not only found a permanent space in a park but also built a pavilion, bought picnic tables, benches and a new grill and still have $15,000 left over to keep the fire going for years to come.

For Brown, the chance to bring this project to her hometown holds a special meaning.

“Detroit is a city that really has struggled. But the best part about Detroit is that there are so many people that believe in it. The dedication behind this barbecue represents the dedication of this city,” Brown said.