'Back-alley' Crust Fund Pizza raises funds for charities through Instagram

CHICAGO (WLS) -- In the red glow of tail lights, John Carruthers basks in the generosity shown by his fellow Chicagoans as well as the smell of freshly baked pizza.

"People pull up to my undisclosed alley and they have the shadiest pizza transaction of their life and hopefully they enjoy it and we raise a lot of good money for people that's what Crust Fund is about," Carruthers said.

Crust Fund Pizza is a monthly pop-up benefiting Chicago charities through the sale of pizza on Instagram. Carruthers started Crust Fund in the Summer of 2020 while sheltering in place but still wanting to make a difference through his newly-acquired 'dad hobby.'

"If the only thing I can do is make pizza, I decided the only thing I would do is make pizza and push money to the places making Chicago more equal, more just, and a better place to live," Carruthers said.

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Every month Carruthers posts a gourmet pizza menu and which local organization he wants to support on his Instagram page, @nachosandlager. Buyers then bid on the pizzas through direct messages, first-come-first serve, and the last pizza goes to the highest bidder. Carruthers finances the ingredients himself and doesn't see a dime of the money raised his 'customers' screen-shot on their smartphones proving they've donated to the organizations directly online and send him the images so he can keep track. Community organizations like My Block My Hood My City, Connections For Abused Women & Their Children, Block Club Chicago, and The Tribe have all benefited from the thousands raised by Crust Fund.

"Chicago loves pizza so much and the community organizations that we support so much, that they will meet a stranger in a dark alley for a pizza they haven't had," Carruthers said. "If that's not love for your fellow man, I don't know what is."

The address for pick-up is secret and buyers are only given a location for an alley in the city's Ravenswood neighborhood. To help Crust Fund raise more money for local organizations making a difference, follow @nachosandlager on Instagram.
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