Community fridges serve those in need in Philadelphia’s food deserts

Community refrigerators serve the needy in Philadelphia’s food deserts

FOX 29’s Bill Anderson stopped by the nearly 50 community fridges set up across Philadelphia to help neighbors help feed those in need.

Community refrigerators aren’t exactly new to Philadelphia, but you might be surprised how many there are in Philadelphia.

For everyone involved, it is a point of community pride.

“It’s just amazing how important it is to be able to offer free food in a community that is constantly being overlooked by its own powers,” said Sonam and Sonia Parikh.

The refrigerators are a growing trend that started before the coronavirus pandemic but has since expanded.

Basically, people just put refrigerators in different places and just fill them up with food. When you need food, just come and buy and take it.

“We chose to do this because we noticed at the beginning of the pandemic that at least three or four local supermarkets were closed for rebuilding and it just felt like a really awkward move,” added the Parikhs.

Parikhs own Mina’s World Café in West Philadelphia and started the communal fridge outside.

You will be surprised to find these refrigerators in almost every district and many surroundings.

They have become a gathering point.

“Everyone really cares about the fridge, they really take it upon themselves to say, ‘Oh, we wiped it down today’ or ‘I collected 100 grocery bags for the fridge today’. It’s really surprising and frankly adorable” the Parikhs added.

Last week, FOX 29’s Bill Anderson toured many of Philadelphia’s nearly 50 refrigerators. The concept is really simple. Someone puts up a refrigerator and then people get together to fill it for their neighbors in need.

“People who take everything out of the fridge some weeks and put their grocery stamps back in the fridge other weeks, all of these are such a big part of what keeps the fridge going and why we know we keep filling it and need to make sure this is a forever resource, “added the Parikhs.

It’s amazing to see places like Mina’s World and others in the area literally selling their products all day and then at the end of the day the same products that weren’t sold go straight to the fridge.

Perhaps it is this commitment to one another, more than just profit, that drives the success of the community refrigerator trend.

“One of my favorite parts about working at Mina’s World and organizing the fridge is that Mina’s World becomes a zero waste café and everything goes straight back to the fridge that goes to someone in that community and then we just start the next all over again, “says the Parikh.

So the point is, no matter where you are, if you can’t afford a meal, look in your communal fridge, and if you have more than you need, maybe stock up on a communal fridge.

Because this trend unites us together to solve a very real, but mostly avoidable problem … For God’s sake.

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