Rhonda Mae's Wall of Food
AIDS had hit Fort Worth hard by the mid 1980s. There was little help available for the victims of this dreadful disease. Most would be unable to work within months and waste away until death overtook them. It was a horrid time with funerals every week.
Sandy Lanier began to buy food out of her own pocket and give it out on South Jennings from the back of her car. Funds were raised at the old 651 Forth Worth. The Community Outreach Center was finally established (they couldn't call it AIDS). The Imperial Court de Fort Worth/Arlington began to have a few fund raiser shows for the COC. Our founder, Rhonda Mae, performed in many of these shows.
In 1989 James Allen and Danny Nugent opened the Office Lounge and Breakroom" on the west side of Fort Worth. Rhonda Mae was the show director and began to host shows for the COC. She visited the COC and the food pantry to give them the funds raised. The shows were bringing in large donations. On one visit she and Yogi Anderson were dismayed to find little extra on the shelves from the funds taken the week before. When questioned, the Director of the food pantry, Lee Arnot, said that when money was donated to the food pantry that amount was backed out of the pantry's budget, so there was "no extra."
Over lunch, Yogi said something that gave Rhonda Mae an idea. "Don't give them money — give them food — and don't tell them how much was spent."
From that point on, weekly trips were made to purchase carloads of food by the case and taken back to the club. The "Wall of Food" was born. When the "Wall" grew to a certain amount, it was all taken to the food pantry and a new "Wall" was begun.
This has continued now into the 27th year at many clubs including The Office Lounge, Breakroom, Across The Street, Crossroads, Corral, Best Friends, 651 Fort Worth, 651 Arlington, Stampede, Rainbow, and now at Changes and Club Reflection.
Over 200 "Walls" have been delivered totaling nearly $600,000.