The patrons and employees of the New Orleans Food Cooperative are a tight-knit group.
“We all know each other, it’s the familiar faces, same faces every day, it’s almost like a corner store,” says store employee Brandon.
Unfortunately, one of their own, Reynaud Coleman was shot to death near his home on July 13th.
“When we found out he passed it was very sad for us, this is really a family workplace. People really build relationships with each other,” says General Manager Lori Burge.
The employees at the co-op banded together under the tragic circumstances and raised over a thousand dollars between them to donate to Coleman’s family. “Staff members started putting together a kit to donate to his family, his wife and four children,” says Burge.
But misfortune struck once again, the purse carrying the Co-op’s cash donation was lifted and never returned. Once the word spread about what happened, the same familiar faces that frequent the Co-op to buy groceries began emptying their wallets, and in less than a week the total of donations nearly doubled.
“It’s shocking because I didn’t think that the community would get so involved in what we’re trying to do. I’m glad that so many people stepped up and are giving money to the family,” says Brandon.
“One man from Austin actually put in over 700 dollars, just meeting people who didn’t even know Rey that feel inspired to contribute, you know somebody just handed us twenty dollars when they heard the story,” says Burge.
The response has been so overwhelming, the Co-op plans to give a portion of the money to charity.
“Our priority is to donate to organizations that work on youth empowerment and non-violence and also to support victims of crime,” says Burge.
A fitting tribute to a dear friend and family man.
“Rey was a positive inspiration, he was always smiling, he really worked to build community and I think that’s how he connected with people. ”
For more information on the fund set up for Reynaud Coleman visit: http://www.gofundme.com/3ngy2c