Bushwick Food Co-Op Needs Your Help to Recover From Fire Damage

Anna van der Heijden

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On July 3, a fire severely damaged the Bushwick Food Cooperative (BFC) on Porter Avenue in the Loom Building. While the Fire Department is still trying to figure out what happened, BFC is making efforts to re-open as soon as possible. While their Gofundme campaign has been doing well, they are still far away from reaching their goal. That’s why they decided to host a fundraiser on August 16 at The Muse in Bushwick. 

Right now, the store is still in shambles: storefront shattered, ceiling was torn off in an effort to control the fire, computers got ruined by the sprinkler system, desks burned and most of their inventory is lost. They haven’t been able to do a substantial clean-up, because they’re awaiting their insurance’s evaluation about the situation. 

The co-op is a store where many neighbors get their fresh produce, grains, dairy and other locally sourced items. For others, it is much more. It is a community.

Storefront after fire.

“We are all feeling the loss of the regular contact with our community that we always had through shopping and working our hours at the store before,” said Sarah Overholt, BFC’s board’s vice president in an email. 

The community misses its co-op, so re-opening as soon as possible is a priority for the team. While it’s hard to estimate how much insurance will cover and how long the process of receiving the money will take, the management took it upon themselves to start raising money. The raised money will be put toward restocking produce and items, replacing computers and POS system, making repairs to the store, and buying necessary equipment. 

In the weeks since the fire, they’ve organized several “fire sales” to make sure the remaining dry goods stock didn’t go to waste. “The community and owners have found these sales to be positive and a wonderful time to catch-up with each other,” said Overholt. 

Inside the store after the fire.

They also have a Gofundme campaign up and running that has almost raised $10,000 so far. A significant amount, but not nearly enough to cover all the costs. They’re still about $50,000 short. That’s where the fundraiser comes in. 

The fundraiser will take place at The Muse, an aerialist space in Bushwick, on Friday, August 16, from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. at The Muse (350 Moffat St).

People are asked to donate $20 upon entry and can buy food and drinks contributed by the community. There will be artists doing live drawings, performances by The Muse’s aerialists, live music and DJ sets.

“We are hoping many people from Bushwick will attend for a fun, positive, forward-looking evening, focused on renewal and rebuilding,” said Overholt.

Images courtesy of BFC.

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