“Feed the Block” Gives Back in Style

Photo courtesy of Caleb Tyrrell.

Throughout the year, Denver is home to vintage pop-ups, conventions like ThriftCon, or recurring flea markets. “Feed the Block” started small with the same purpose as these events, but creator Maurice Anderson wanted to take his idea a step further.

Anderson noticed a trend with Denver shoppers; while they love to buy new things, they also need to purge their closets from time to time. But where does the money end up? 

After seeing the severe rent increases and homelessness in Denver, Anderson decided this would be his cause to support, leading to the name “Feed the Block,” and teaming up with Christina Ruiz of Meals of Dopeness. Together, they curate meals for the homeless and personally hand them out on the streets. Funds donated or raised by the vendors at “Feed the Block” go directly towards the effort.

When Anderson first attempted to bring his idea to fruition five years ago, it was just a fraction of what it is today, with only a few vendors selling small market items. Despite the size of that year’s event, there was still a line of people, leaving Anderson hopeful for bigger crowds in the future. This led to the first actual “Feed the Block” event a few years later, where real vendors gathered and gained public interest. 

“We’ve just been growing it every time,” Anderson said. “More vendors, more venues, better things, and then we take more money and give it back to the streets, which is what we need to do.”

Momentum for the event started through Anderson’s personal Instagram page, where his friends and followers engaged with posts and posted about it themselves. Once the official “Feed the Block” Instagram started, it immediately grew a following, which reached nearly 3,000 followers, with even more users interacting with the page. 

Their most recent event on August 14 at the McNichols Building generated the largest crowd yet and drew the attention of reporters from CBS who filmed the gathering. 

“I feel like I’m getting a lot more traffic and a lot more support,” Anderson said. “They see me pushing it, they see me actually build this up by ourselves. I’m seeing more people trying to get behind it.”

Vendors at the event included It’s a Bodega, Sliv Life, 1130 Collective, AllAccessKickss, Homegirl ThriftIntruder’s Wear, Cotton Collective and countless others who regularly sell in the Denver community. Merchandise doesn’t stop with vintage clothing, it also includes a wide variety of sneakers, collectibles, home goods, rugs, retro games and consoles, and other items that vendors deem of value. Food vendors present at the event experienced the success of “Feed the Block” as well. Anderson’s father, a retired Sr. Master Sgt of the U.S. Air Force, brought his barbeque business, Papa Moe, to feed the crowds and he quickly sold out. 

“It was a beautiful thing to see,” Anderson said. “All these people were selling out and many people were making money.” 

Shoppers found new favorites for their wardrobe while knowing their money is going to a good place.

“It’s been very humbling and I love it and I want to keep growing,” Anderson said. “I don’t want to stop at this.”

The cause behind each event centers around homelessness, but as Anderson states, “there’s always a little extra you can do.” This past event focused on handing out backpacks to schools and fulfilling teacher supply lists for the upcoming year. This included donating classroom essentials, such as dry-erase markers, colored pencils and whatever else teachers felt they needed for their students.

“For me, I don’t really think that you need to show that you’re giving to somebody,” Anderson said. “Out of the kindness of your heart, just do it.”

The next “Feed the Block” event in Colorado is planned for December, themed “Santa’s Workshop.” Anderson hopes to make it family oriented with a toy drive, wrapping station and photos with Santa. To receive updates on the event and find more information, be sure to follow their Instagram and keep an eye out for when tickets are available through the link in their bio.

All photos courtesy of Caleb Tyrrell.

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