“Meet Latisha Springer of Free99Fridge”
Today we’d like to introduce you to Latisha Springer.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Free99Fridge was established with a simple idea: Eating healthy, daily meals shouldn’t be a privilege. According to a 2010 USDA study, there is approximately 133 billion pounds and $161 billion worth of food wasted a year. Why not redistribute the food to the people?
Free99Fridge is an Atlanta-based grassroots organization committed to fighting for food justice + addressing the needs of our neighbors through mutual aid. We are a mutual aid initiative, not a charity, that is working to establish fridges and pantries all over the greater Atlanta area – open 24/7 offering free healthy food access and powered by the people. We provide high quality produce and non-perishable food at no cost to anyone who wants or needs it via our community fridge network.
We currently have 6 locations with 7 solidarity fridges that are stocked and maintained by volunteers, growers, and local businesses who see value in supporting the community family. We are a solution-oriented collective aiming to build up community and end food disparities in Atlanta one fridge at a time.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
While community fridges have existed in Europe for many years, the concept is fairly new in the U.S. As a result, most of our challenges have and continue to be related to education and awareness. A lot of people are unfamiliar with what a community fridge is, how it works, etc., so we face a multitude of challenges from finding locations to getting the community involved in the project. Social media, specifically Instagram (@Free99Fridge), has been a wonderful platform we’ve leveraged to show people what we’re doing and the impact our work is having on our city.
Another constant struggle in this journey is trying to meet the great needs of our food insecure neighbors. Obviously, I knew that there was a need in Atlanta for better food access. However, I was shocked by the experience of having our fridges emptied every 1-3 hours by those in-need and having to refill them continuously. Keeping our food supply at pace with demand currently feels like an impossible feat given the dire realities of our community family’s needs which have only been exacerbated by the events of 2020, but we will NOT be deterred. We’re working tirelessly to partner with food providers, raise funds for food, and engage the community to make food contributions to the solidarity fridges.
Free99Fridge – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Free99Fridge is an Atlanta-based grassroots organization committed to fighting for food justice & addressing the needs of our neighbors through mutual aid. We provide high quality produce and non-perishable food at no cost to anyone who wants or needs it via our community fridge network. Our community fridges are stocked and maintained by volunteers, growers, and local businesses who see value in supporting the community family. We are a solution-oriented collective aiming to build up community and end food disparities…one fridge at a time.
I’m most proud of the fact that this project is eliminating all the barriers + BS associated with getting food to those in need. There’s no application, screening, or approval process to determine if someone qualifies to get help. Community members self-identify as “needy”, go to a solidarity fridge, and take what they need. Those people that are blessed with abundance can simply go to a fridge and leave what they can.
Additionally, each of our solidarity fridges is named in honor of our murdered family members:
Locations + Names:
– HodgePodge Coffeehouse: “Breonna” (Breonna Taylor)
– Joystick Gamebar: “Floyd” (George Floyd)
– Best End Brewing: “Tamir” (Tamir Rice) + “Elijah” (Elijah McClain)
– Poor Hendrix: “Korryn” (Korryn Gaines)
– Community Movement Builders: “Sandra” (Sandra Bland)
– Lost n Found Thrift Store: “Michael” (Michael Brown)
My vision for Free99Fridge is that our solidarity fridges will represent the challenges we must overcome as a community while being the manifestation of what’s possible when we all do a little.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
While we certainly have small wins along the way, I won’t feel truly successful in this food fight until we’re able to be a consistent and dependable food source for our community family to feed their families.
- CashApp: $free99fridge
- Venmo: @free99fridge
- Website: www.free99fridge.com (coming soon)
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @free99fridge
- Other: gf.me/u/y6ayiv