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Your Turn: Community fridge takes root in New London

Before COVID-19 hit our country, I read an article regarding a Community Fridge in Brooklyn, N.Y., that helped fight food injustice and food waste. It struck a chord with me and sat in the back of my mind.

During the pandemic, we like many other members of the community were at food drives and food banks thankful for the donation. For anyone who has ever had to ask for food or help it is humbling to ask, so when you are given help you feel honored and thankful. But, when you take the food home and find it unusable and find yourself back in the same situation you started, the appreciation turns to anger and frustration. As a member of the community I knew we weren’t the only ones going through the struggle and hunger.

That’s when the Community Fridge became a conversation. Now we don’t have to sit back and watch. We can be a bridge in fixing the food inequalities and food waste that is in our community, eliminate the stigma of needing or wanting help for ourselves, children and families, and create a safe space for any and everyone to have access to free, healthy food.

NL Fridge has been able to become a reality due to a group of citizens willing to create change in their home.

A Community Fridge is a mutual aid initiative. This initiative provides our community with a running fridge in a safe accessible space where anyone can give or take food, dry goods, or toiletries. It is free and open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The Fridge would be plugged into a business or residence, which we call the “host.” We would need the ability to plug the fridge in outdoors and one day have a covering built to keep the elements away.

In order to keep the fridge maintained, a core group of volunteers that run NL Fridge will take on the maintenance. Among these are Nike Desis, Lauren Davis,

Rashad Marshall, Ayla Robinson, Tori Pecora, Nikki Kouris and Jean-Claude Nicolas.

The hope is that the community will support the initiative and maintain the fridge as they donate and remove items along with the core members and volunteers.

Community members and organizations can support by signing up to help maintain the fridge. Currently, we are looking for a host and members who would like to volunteer in any aspect. We are seeking NLHS students and local artists interested in volunteering their time and skills to paint/decorate our fridge for our community, earn some community service hours, or simply support our efforts to enhance our beautiful community with free food for all!

Once the fridge finds a host we will be able to start taking donations. We have been so fortunate to have had several people offer a fridge, store our fridges and offered to fill and donate. The help from the community so far has been humbling and appreciated.

If you are looking to donate some items please include non-perishable food items that are unopened and not expired, toiletries that are unopened and unused, fresh fruit and produce, dairy products that are not expired, baby and feminine products and personal protective equipment. Donations also are taken by Venmo at @newlondon-communityfridge. Donations will go to electricity, maintenance, and keeping the fridge stocked. For more info, check out the Instagram page @nlcfridge or email nlcommunityfridge@gmail.com.

Your Turn is a chance for readers to submit stories, photos and commentary. To contribute, email times@theday.com.

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