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Monday, May 23, 2022

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Houston Community Fridges see success in Third Ward one year later


community fridge

The Community Fridge resides in Houston’s Third Ward. | Courtesy of Houston Community Fridges

With one year under its belt, Houston Community Fridges founder shares the transforming success they’ve had in the Third Ward location.

Nina Mayers, who helped start the project said that the influence for the fridges stemmed from wanting to help enrichment within the Black community after the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020. 

“I had a vision and I thought that the community needs these specific resources and how can I put that on,” Mayers said. “All I did was try to plan it out to the best of my ability and get as many hands as I could to help with the actual execution of it.”

Since then, the response from members in Third Ward and on social media helped grow donations and also influenced others to want to start their own fridges.

“Ultimately I want to have a fridge in every community and this is kind of the start of that,” Mayers said. “Just one person saying hey I really want to start one in this area.” 

In Houston, food insecurity and homelessness affects one in five people with Hurricane Harvey and the pandemic influencing that number. 

Their goal was to feed specific communities in the city that have little to no access to nutritious food or basic necessities and transportation.

“When the communities are built like that on purpose it denies a lot of people access to food and access to healthy food on top of that,” Mayers said. 

Since opening, the fridges have expanded in helping families that need diapers, baby food and supplies while taking into account the different needs in each community. 

The organization receives plenty of emotional success stories of individuals in Third Ward that have relied on the fridges and are appreciative of the work done. 

“Somebody DM’d me and wanted to thank our organization for setting up a fridge in Third Ward,” they said. “They knew of a Black unhoused woman that was living in the area that had been struggling to get food and basically they would walk to the fridge and stock up on stuff and she was so incredibly grateful.” 

Mayers highlights that access to government assistance becomes difficult for people that aren’t able to show proof of income or housing.

Houston Community Fridges are available 24/7 for anyone to go contribute or stock up when they like without the worry of limits or food preference. 

The organization provides free hygiene essentials and female products to the communities as well. 

On Houston Community Fridges site, there are multiple  opportunities for people to help out whether it be stocking, designing fridge art and cleaning. 

Mayers says that their biggest takeaway with this project is community involvement and understanding the needs of those in it.

“A lot of people think that creating a project is a daunting task but I had no idea how this was going to turn out,” Mayers said. “I think anyone can start a community fridge and I think it’s important for people to know that so that we can get community fridges across the nation.”

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