A Chicago sports radio talk show host collected over $660,000 from listeners to make the dream of a new brick-and-mortar food store in Austin a reality.
Last summer, former Chicago Bears linebacker Sam Acho recruited many of his fellow athletes to raise money to help create a pop-up food market on the site of a former liquor store at 423 N. Laramie. The pop-up market, Austin Harvest, ran until December, employing teen workers and offering fresh, healthy food to Austin residents.
Now the dream is bigger. AM radio station WSCR (670 The Score) teamed up with Acho’s Athletes for Justice organization to hold a 24-hour “What About Chicago” radiothon in late June to raise money to make the site permanent. More than 4,000 listeners contributed.
Radio host Danny Parkins led the effort, raising from from listeners, at the station’s website, and through sales of Obvious Shirts, T-shirts with messages about Chicago sports teams.
The radiothon also was sponsored with the By the Hand organization, which serves Chicago students in need. The original goal was $500,000, and donations are still being accepted at the Austin Harvest website. The new goal is $700,000, and the group hopes to start construction in the fall.
Until the permanent store is built, the teens employed at the Austin Harvest market are back in business for the summer. The pop-up market will offer fruit, vegetables, and fresh-cut flowers from 2-6 p.m. every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at its original site: 423 N. Laramie.