A pivotal part of our mission as a Co-Op is to help our community address food insecurity and accessibility. We fundamentally believe that everyone should have access to nutritious food without worrying about how to afford it.
That’s why we love the Denver Community Fridge Project. We are aligned with their goals and are eager to help however we can – we have filled a few fridges with some healthy donations, and we thought it’d be helpful for us to spread the word, too.
What is a community fridge?
A community fridge is a refrigerator located in a neighborhood filled by community partners, organizations and individuals. They are intended to help fight food insecurity and have become a great way to get food to families in need discretely.
Who manages it?
Community fridges are often considered a mutual aid project, which means that multiple people and organizations contribute to them. Essentially, it means that people are working together as opposed to institutions. We like this approach because we think it’s always better when we work together!
How does it get filled?
There are a few ways these fridges get filled! Organizations like ours will donate pre-made meals and fresh produce deliver it ourselves. Some individuals will donate fresh produce or store-bought meals or food items. It’s important to note that all pre-made meals must come from a commercial kitchen which means that homemade meals are not accepted.
Does it get cleaned?
As a mutual aid project, some of the maintenance comes from the people who contribute. There are guidelines on the Denver Community Fridge page about etiquette for the fridges. If you are donating to one and see food that needs to be removed or something that needs to be cleaned, it’s requested you spend extra time to help the community and get that taken care of.
Can I just take food from it?
Yes! This essentially operates on an “honor system” meaning there is a general expectation that only people suffering from food insecurity take food from the fridge, but it’s a no-questions-asked situation. We want everyone to feel comfortable getting the food they need!
How can I get involved?
There are a few ways to get involved. If you live in Denver or the surrounding areas and would like to donate produce or meals, check out the community fridge locations for the one closest to you so you may drop off your donation! If you don’t have the time or resources to contribute to a fridge directly, consider donating or volunteering with an organization that actively contributes to them.
What can I donate?
Fresh produce is always welcome along with dairy items, non-perishable pantry items and prepared meals. As we mentioned, prepared meals can only come from kitchens that meet certain safety standards, i.e., commercial kitchens so please refrain from donating homemade meals as they will be thrown away. Also, raw meat and expired or rotting food is not allowed. The goal is to give people fresh and edible food. Additionally, if you have small items such as a can opener or a pair of gloves, feel free to donate these. But please understand community fridges are not donation centers such as Goodwill or ARC.
We love the emergence of community fridges and believe they serve an important purpose in addressing food insecurity. If you are interested in getting involved or are a community member who is in need of resources, make sure you get in touch with the team at the Denver Community Fridge Project or contact us and we can help you further.