NoMa’s Red Bear Brewing this week flipped its recently reopened patio into a donation center accepting essentials it will distribute to protesters who are decrying police brutality and systemic racism following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week.
The year-old, gay-owned brewery (209 M Street NE) opened a designated dropoff zone for 10 hours Wednesday and another five hours today. Everything from canopy tents to non-perishable snacks to heat-resistant gloves packed the patio and overflowed into an adjoining pavilion. Red Bear has been accepting more items today before clearing the patio for sitdown service. People who want to inquire about sending more donations can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The items will go to Freedom Fighters DC, which is mobilizing a group of protesters to meet at the Senate office building at 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 6. A whopping 600 cases of water bottles have already come in to help cool down protesters during the next 90-degree heat wave. The partnership between the brewery and the rising activist group quickly materialized in the past week.
Taproom manager Liz Cox pitched the idea of running the distribution center to her staff.
“Given we’ve been operating on a limited capacity, [we] have the ability and resources to help with supplies ... to get stuff to people on the front lines to stand up longer,” Cox says. “They’ve had overwhelming public support but not the operations to handle it.”
The top requested items on Wednesday also included saline, athletic tape, and gas masks. Truckloads of supplies were then shipped to a storage site on Ninth and U Streets NW.
“We were overwhelmed with donations after we put the word out,” she says.
Meanwhile, tapas go-to Estadio is running a community kitchen serving free meals to protesters and anyone else who needs them through Sunday.