No matter what you call them – fridges or freedges – they are a much needed blessing and service to the communities in which they reside.
You can read about the fridges/freedges of New York and Los Angeles HERE and HERE.
For many, regular meals are not regular and possibly non-existent on many days. The fridges/freedges help to feed the hungry without cost. The donated food contained therein is free.
“At community refrigerators, anyone is welcome to take whatever they want and leave behind food they don’t need, like extra produce. Many volunteers who clean and stock the refrigerators daily ask local restaurants and stores to donate unused or unsold food items instead of throwing them away.”
These containers of community assistance were borne from the pandemic and a rise in food insecurity and hunger. In Los Angeles, Marina Vergara had been involved in distributing food for years to the homeless population, but saw a need for greater assistance during the pandemic. Selma Raven set up a “friendly fridge” in the Bronx to help her neighborhood.
“A network of New Yorkers collaborating with “In our Hearts,” an activist group, have set up and maintained at least 14 fridges, which are plugged into local bodegas, restaurants or homes with permission.”
At all locations, it is an “on your honor” system and no one is judged. People are allowed to take whatever they need, but are asked, in return, to leave anything they don’t need.
Fridges/freedges have also made their way to Nashville, Boston and Oakland. Ernst Oehninger, an economist and community organizer in LA, urges organizers of the fridges/freedges to link to local efforts such as community gardens, urban farm initiatives, seed libraries, community kitchens, and pop up kitchens.
“You need to have a team. A fridge is not going to solve a systemic problem.” They have to be connected to other organizations, he says, “or you have to make them.”
Here’s hoping that these little boxes of hope and health continue long after the pandemic, to keep our communities fed, healthy and safe.
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25 responses to #WATWB – Friendly Fridges and Freedges
Warms my heart, Mary.
It’s a very good thing, Lois!
This is such a good idea and a wonderful story to share. It makes a body feel good to see people helping people.
This would be a wonderful thing in any community, Dan. There are too many in this country that still go hungry.
And that is unacceptable. No one should be hungry.
These friendly fridges are a wonderful idea Mary, truly heart-warming and a great addition to the existing food banks 🧡
Every little bit helps, Xenia! I’m glad that this idea came to fruition in so many cities.
Such a great post Mary thank you. Inspiring and also shows what CAN be done when people pull together for the greater good, in this case, ensuring people do not go hungry.
Susan, I so wish our country could come together with this kind of compassion and a servant’s heart. No one would ever need to worry about food or shelter.
Isn’t this a wonderful idea. I love it. It’s practical and shows compassion in action. Around here people sometimes leave canned goods or tp in our free little libraries, which is similar, but not so well organized.
This IS a fabulous idea, Ally, and I hope it spreads around the country. In the meantime, every little bit of tp and canned goods left in your free libraries will help.
Great effort Mary. I heard about this on the radio in Toronto. Amazing idea and share. 🙂
Thank you. Glad to share this good news. 🙂
Such a great idea! I haven’t seen one of these in my community. Hmmmm….
Hmmm…I hear your wheels turning, JoAnna.
Such a brilliant idea! So many in need and so much that goes to waste this seems like a perfect solution. Thanks so much for sharing and for being a part of#WATWB! Hope you are having a great weekend!☺️
You are welcome, Belinda. I would love to see a friendly fridge in my community and be happy to donate.
They are brilliant. I wish more restaurants would actually do it – saves wastage and helps those who need it.
Some of our local restaurants do provide food donations to organizations that help feed the hungry, but I suspect it may be a small percentage. More fridges across the country would definitely help.
This is so heartwarming… feeding the hungry with dignity! We need more such initiatives all over the world. We have it in a few places in India too! Thanks for this beautiful story, Mary!
You’re welcome, Shilpa. Dignity is something we can and should easily provide in our communities.
When I was geocaching in Arkansas I found “little free libraries” that had been converted into “little free pantries”. Instead of books they had canned goods – one had mostly one can meals, Chef Boyardee, Dinty Moore, Chunky soups, and some just add water things like mac & cheese. I had never seen anything like it but innovation occurs there is a need….
That’s great! I can understand why, in these times, free canned goods and non-perishables are far more important than free books. I hope that eventually changes and there is less of a need for free food.