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Filling a Need


Refrigerators are popping up around the United States. You can see them on street corners and outside cafés. They are near churches and apartment buildings. The food inside them is free. Anyone can take it.

A woman stocks a fridge with veggies and other fresh food in Brooklyn, New York.


Many community fridges are stocked stock LEREN LU—GETTY IMAGES to fill; to supply (verb) Our teacher never forgets to stock the classroom with paper and pencils before a big test. by volunteers. They are set up for people facing food insecurity food insecurity ARIEL SKELLEY—GETTY IMAGES lack of regular access to enough food (noun) Many people in the village faced food insecurity after flooding destroyed the crops. .

A man visits a community fridge in Denver, Colorado.


Tajahnaé Stocker started the ICT Community Fridge Project, in Wichita, Kansas. She raised $1,500 and bought a fridge. She decorated it and filled it with food. She says the fridge is “trying to fill in the gap of a grocery store.”

Stocking Up

Many Americans do not have enough to eat. But Stocker and others say the last thing people need to focus on is their next meal.

Buddy System MIA is a community-fridge group. It is in Miami, Florida. It fills its fridges up to five times a day. Kristin Guerin runs the group. “The need is still really high,” she says.

Sherina Jones stocks a fridge in Miami, Florida. She runs a community-fridge group there.


Community fridges might contain homemade meals. Some are stocked with leftover meals from other groups. And restaurants donate extra food. That way, meals do not go to waste.

More than Food

The group 901 Community Fridges serves Memphis, Tennessee. It accepts food donations. It also takes diapers and other baby items.

In Miami, the fridges are covered with flyers. They advertise things like summer camp. Guerin says the fridges “have become little community centers” and will stay as long as they are needed.

Want to Help?


Community fridges are stocked with donated food. Much of it comes from supermarkets or restaurants. But individuals can help too. One way is to give money online to a community-fridge group. Or, you can stock a fridge. Just be sure the food you donate is fresh. Some community-fridge groups need volunteers. Research local groups. Ask how you can help.