The Latest Weapon Against COVID — Community Refrigerators

The Love Fridge in Chicago, IL
 Kathleen Hinkel

Of all the COVID adaptations, one of the more imaginative is the community refrigerator. The idea is quite simple — put a fridge on a street corner, stock it with surplus food, and let people help themselves under the motto “take what you need, leave what you can.”

Since the start of the pandemic, these free fridge programs have started appearing across the country. The database Freedge, which maps community fridges around the world, showed 12 fridges in the US in March 2020. Now, they’ve found 160 fridges in 28 states.

These public refrigerators are a direct community response to a food insecurity crisis. Feeding America is estimating that the number of food-insecure Americans has almost doubled to 50 million people in 2020. “Covid-19 has only amplified and maximized every problem that was here. For all the people who were starving then, more people are starving now,” said Dion Dawson, the founder of Project Dream Fridge in Englewood, Chicago.

This is also a way to cut food waste, so everyone benefits. Just remember the slogan “Life Is Better Shared.”

For more information, see “Community Fridges are Lifelines for the Neighborhoods They Serve” by Katherine Oung at The photo is from that website.

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