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Monday, September 27, 2021

Opinion

With food insecurity rising, there should be more community fridges


Gerald Sastra/The Cougar

Gerald Sastra/The Cougar

A community fridge has recently popped up in the Third Ward, thanks to local resident Nina Mayers’s fundraiser. Community fridges are publicly accessible fridges for people who are in need. 

Community fridges are a fantastic idea for food charity since it can provide people an efficient private way to receive food, fresh produce, and a simple way for people to give back to their community. Community fridges should definitely be the future when it comes to food charity. 

Food insecurity is a big problem in the U.S. with 10.5 percent of households here having low food security. A solution might be food pantries and banks, but those can often have long lines, especially right now with the pandemic leaving many people out of work and income. 

This was the case with New York when the pandemic started. With the city’s resources of food banks falling short, residents installed fridges using outlets at local businesses and stocking them with food. Fridges provided a good alternative to waiting in a mile long line for canned goods.

Community fridges also provide people private access to food instead of having to go to a shelter or charity. 

Many programs that involve giving food to people are very social, often having people hand off food directly to people. That’s all well and good, but some people may have anxiety or other issues that make them not want to interact with people directly. 

There’s also a lot of stigma about poverty, so some people may be afraid to be seen that way. Community fridges provide a way for people to get food without seeing anyone. They can simply get what they need and go. 

Community fridges also allow food insecure people access to different kinds of foods that they wouldn’t usually have access to. Food insecure people often may get fast food or food from gas stations because that’s what they can afford. These places typically don’t have fruits or vegetables. 

Community fridges provide a place where people can keep produce like this fresh, or even have snacks like yogurt and gelatin. Community fridges provide a place where food insecure individuals can have access to types of food they may not usually have access to. 

Community fridges also provide a good way for community members to give back and be brought together. If you buy an extra meal while at a restaurant, you can stick it in a community fridge on the way back. It’s an overall pretty easy way of giving back. 

Community fridges lessen people’s reliance on government services and promotes a sense of collectivism in community since the community is helping each other. Other neighborhoods with community fridges have a lot of local businesses chipping in for fridge maintenance and inventory. By helping communities, these fridges bring them together.

Of course, there have been concerns about the safety of the fridges since there isn’t regulation of the food. This is a valid concern, but research on the risk of food sharing says that sharing food typically doesn’t result in food crises. And if people are already starving because they don’t have access to food, that’s a bigger problem that needs to be addressed. 

Community fridges provide another way for food insecure people to get food without having to wait in lines or interact with people while also bringing the community together. 

When it comes to giving food to those who need it, community fridges should definitely be the future.

Anna Baker is an English junior who can be reached at [email protected]

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