CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — When local photographer Rafay Shaikh joined the car community nearly two years ago, dozens of car enthusiasts would meet up at the parking lot in Moore Plaza. The car meets at Moore Plaza quickly got shut down because the group would meet without permission from surrounding businesses.
"I came around this car community just taking pictures for my S.A.R. Click Facebook page in 2021 after my graduation from TAMUCC," said Rafay Shaikh.
"I started taking pics at another event with a friend of mine, Marc Juarez, called 'Cars and Coffee Corpus Christi' at Coral Bean Coffee," said Shaikh.
Shaikh's photos started getting more views and likes on social media, which helped him grow his voice in the car community.
Shaikh eventually started doing pop-up car meets throughout the city on his own.
"I partnered with Nathan Gershon for his event 'Cars and Airplanes' and started a new 'Cruise to Cars and Airplanes' event," said Shaikh.
He finally met Chris Slaughter, and the pair came up with the idea to use the Freebirds World Burrito parking lot in Moore Plaza again, but this time with proper permissions from the businesses around the area.
"Chris helped me get the permissions, and I arranged our first Freebirds Friday in October," said Shaikh.
"We decided to have a donation thing going every month at Freebirds Friday. So, the first time we collected canned food for the Coastal Bend Food Bank," said Shaikh.
The group said they combined their love for cars and photography to do something better for the community and help provide people with a platform.
Shaikh's next car meet-up, 'Freebirds Friday and Pets, ' is coming up on Friday, Jan. 13, beginning at 7 p.m. The group will collect pet supplies for various pet shelters, especially PAAC – People Assisting Animal Control.
Every pet supply donation will receive a free cookie or brownie.
"Everyone is invited to help us make pets' lives easier. No revving and no burnouts. Please respect the property. There will be kids and pets around, so drive carefully. Please clean after your pets," said Shaikh.
For more information on 'Freebirds Friday' (every 2nd Friday of the month), visit the events Facebook page here.