Our neighbors, Ro and Earl Townsend, were written about and interviewed on WFYI. Enjoy!
Ro and Earl Townsend live in what some call the MLK neighborhood, northwest of downtown Indianapolis. It’s one of the poorest areas in the city. They’re known for hosting fine dining events, starting an open-mic poetry show, and handing out bags of food to hungry kids.
These are all fairly manageable side projects for the couple, who are also raising five children.
But their latest project got really big, really fast.
It started with barbecue cookouts. The parties were getting popular, so Ro enlisted help from cooks in the neighborhood, called it Open Bite Night, and posted about it on social media.
“We were expecting it to be a bigger cookout kind of a deal,” Ro says. “And then it just turned into something else.”
About 300 people showed up to their home. They decided to throw another Open Bite Night a few months later, on a blocked off neighborhood street. It attracted 1,100 people, and Ro says even more couldn’t come because there was nowhere left to park.