I don’t know how many tacos they ate. I don’t know how many beers they drank.
But I do know that the hundreds of taco-eating, beer-drinking people who took the Taco or Beer Challenge this year raised $29,836 for abortion funds around the world, according to estimates they provided to Rewire.
The challenge started on August 18, after I made an offhand Twitter joke about the relative unpleasantness of dousing oneself in ice water for a cause in the style of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that went viral this summer. That joke turned into the actual eating of a taco, and the actual drinking of a beer, and the actual donation of money to an abortion fund … many, many times over.
The premise of the Taco or Beer Challenge was simple: Eat a taco and/or drink a beer, and donate to an abortion fund. The only way to lose the Taco or Beer Challenge, in fact, was to not donate to an abortion fund. Within hours of that first video, a wave of Taco or Beer Challengers had begun submitting their stories, photos, and videos to the official ToBC Tumblr. By the end of October, I had approved more than 200 submissions to the blog.
Sex. Abortion. Parenthood. Power.
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And because the Taco or Beer Challenge was, ultimately, about choice, we got real liberal with our definitions: “Tacos” turned out to be quesadillas, burritos, even Chinese takeout. “Beer” could be a root beer, a margarita, a refreshing michelada, or chuhai.
Folks around the world heeded the delicious call to help low-income people access legal abortion care. In Mexico City, the only place in Mexico where abortion is legal, Fondo Maria raised $1,000 at a “taco fest” party. In the United States, abortion funders held taco-and-beer events in North Carolina, San Antonio, Washington D.C., Houston, New York, and numerous other cities across the country.
Fundraising numbers were, in some cases, surprising and staggering. The National Network of Abortion Funds raised more than $10,000 in a little more than a month after the challenge began in August—six times what the organization raised during the same period last year. Eighty percent of those donations came from first-time abortion fund donors.
In Texas, the Lilith Fund raised $5,000, with 120 first-time donors contributing. The DC Abortion Fund raised $3,100. The $945 raised by the CAIR Project will help six people in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Alaska get legal abortion care. In New York City, donors giving even in small amounts—the most common donation was $10 and the median gift was $25—helped raise $1,260 in online donations for the New York Abortion Access Fund.
Dozens of funds saw donations from the challenge, from the Abortion Support Network in the U.K. to Canada’s Norma Scarborough Fund to the Georgia Reproductive Justice Access Network to Fund Texas Choice to Minneapolis’ Pro-Choice Resources to the New Orleans Abortion Fund to Women on Web.
A swell guy in Austin even wrote us a little ToBC anthem. Naturally, we recorded it over beers.
It’s been a wonderful three months sharing your amazing taco-and-beer photos, and reading your incredible stories of dedication and support for reproductive health care. While I still encourage folks to continue partaking of the tacos and beers of their choice, and donating to their favorite abortion funds, I’m officially closing the ToBC 2014 and declaring it a massive, tasty success.
I’ll see you next August for ToBC 2015. Don’t tank up on chips and salsa before then … we’re gonna need your appetite.