L’épicerie Folle: collecting food and goods for those in need.

The past few weeks, a remarkable initiative has been set up in Brussels after a cry for help by someone in the fetish community. It was met with a warm project called “L’épicerie Folle” (The Crazy Grocery Store). Alphatribe talks to Nordine Bassista who helps at the initiative.

What is the project about?

The project was a spontaneous and private initiative launched by Clark and Ken after a common friend from the fetish community showed a worrying post. He couldn’t finish the month knowing how to buy food. Clark assembled a group of people to talk about it with ken and others. Very fast the idea of a collection of goods for redistribution took form. But as we quickly realised this had to be to the benefice of a wider group than just the fetish community and horeca workers. The actual situation happened to be more tough than we could imagine. 

Rainbow house offered the Marsha P room for the collection and distribution. We call our lil distribution place “L’épicerie Folle”. So far we are based in Brussels. But we push other cities to do the same. 

Who is behind this initiative?

 Clark & Ken. I arrived as the 3rd little helper. An African decent of Catholic culture, a flemish decent of Jewish culture and an Arab decent of Muslim culture; all fetishist as a common starting point but gathered for a community need. That was a fun fact as we realised just this week during a chat. But so self spoken.

We also have the presence of Rainbow House and Ex Eaquo volunteers. Also some beneficiaries decided to help in return by making photos or posters ect…  We do not only give food and care products but offer people a free test, a coffee and a consult with a social assistant. 

The initiative got bigger than it was originally planned but for the better. So many people come to help which is very heart warming. 

For who is the collection and redistribution meant?

For the LGBT community mostly. We have realised since long time now that our community is suffering in silence. 

It is more than useful to finally do something about it. We have realised that mostly young people but also trans people are in need. So far, we’ve helped between 15 to 20 people every time we are open.

How has it been received? Did you get a lot of contributions?

It got immediately well received. So far we got many reactions from the associations and many donators. We exists for less than one month and we helped already 85 people. But we still need the network to run well so all people know we exists and come to without fear. THIS IS A SAFE PLACE!

Can people stil contribute? If so how?

YES! You can come and bring food , cleaning products, care products. 

I am busy setting a Crowdfunding together with the Brussels Rainbow support. So there you ll be able to help financially. 

Also just talk about it around you. If you know some friends with difficulties, send them over. There is no shame, just love. 

What products can people offer?

 You can come and bring non perishable food products, cleaning products, care products. And again you ll be able to donate on our Crowdfund. So via the bar Crowdfunding in Brussels. 

Is it a one time thing or do you plan more of these?

Good question! The best response would be we’d never have to do this again! 

But reality is here on our doorstep. Covid did a ravage and we only see the first results now. So… let’s cross finger this might just be a moment in time. 

But aside this initiative there are still a lot of struggle in our community. Kids being thrown out of their home, trans being rejected, homophobia, ….  

Anything you would like to add?

I ll speak also for Clark and Ken by saying thanks to David, Ex Eaquo, Rainbow house, the Growdfunding team and everyone who come to donate!

 I ll personally add this: We know prejudices are here to stay sadly and I don’t understand how so many in our community don’t move and keep being blind. Their suffering is ours. Sure some buy themselves the latest IPhone and expensive trips. But then have a bit of reality check and help others.  That’s all what I can add. 

Thank you 🙂 

Written by Jeroen Van Lievenoogen

Jeroen is publisher of Alphatribe magazine

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