Last month, we launched our very first Community Fridge in our local area!
A few months ago, a group of us got together with the goal of helping to bridge the gaps that lead to food insecurity in our community.
While there are several food banks in our town, there weren’t a lot of options for whole, fresh produce or dairy – focusing on shelf-stable dry goods or meats. We knew other cities had created community fridges and wanted to see if we could offer something similar.
The first step was to find a location; we knew we wanted it to be accessible, but also in an area that could prevent vandalism. We reached out to our local LGBTQ+ center and asked if they had space for a fridge and would be willing to host. After a few conversations, we secured our location.
The second step was to find a fridge. We looked around on Craigslist and found one for free. We got a group of volunteers together to pick up the fridge and drop it off at the LGBTQ+ center.
Lastly, now that we had a fridge and a location, we needed to get the word out. We set up an Instagram and Facebook account, made some flyers, and started sharing posts with our followers.
To ensure there is a rotation of donors throughout the week and that the fridge is cleaned regularly, we created a Calendly to establish a schedule.
During our research, we noticed that other community fridges had best practices and guidelines, such as only donating food you would eat yourself, washing your hands before donating/picking up, and tips for cleaning the fridge. We typed up our own set of guidelines to put on the fridge along with a whiteboard for suggestions/requests for specific foods.
The LGBTQ+ center already has a monthly food bank event, which we decided was the perfect opportunity to introduce the fridge to those who already use the food bank.
The morning of the food bank event, we got together early and made a run to the grocery store. We knew we wanted a variety of fruits, veggies, and dairy, focusing more on items that have a longer shelf life. We decided to also pick up frozen veggies such as spinach, broccoli, and corn, in case someone had access to a freezer and wanted foods that would last a little longer.
We made our way to the LGBTQ+ center and started stocking the fridge. As we were adding in items, person after person came by to pick up food, sharing their ideas for what recipes they were going to make. It was such a joy to hear their inspiration for which produce or dairy matched the meat and dry goods they already got from the food bank.
We are so excited to have this resource available to our community and are looking forward to more people using it.
Written by Bryanna, our Director of Operations & Customer Happiness
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