How it works
Community fridges, also known as solidarity fridges, have a simple premise: Functioning fridges, often donated, are placed outside local businesses. They are filled with fresh fruits and vegetables to fight hunger while also preventing food waste.
How community fridges work
There are three working pieces to a community fridge.
- The Plug: A local business commits to hosting a fridge outside of their establishment to support their community by giving access to food 24/7. It costs approximately $150 per year for electricity to operate the refrigerator. This cost is typically covered by the fridge host. Fridge stocking and maintenance is provided by local businesses, growers, and giving people.
- The People: Poverty, unemployment, and low income are amongst the highest contributors of food insecurity. These economic factors have increased dramatically in 2020. Many of the hardworking middle class are having to choose between feeding their families or keeping the lights on. We’re responding to these needs and creating solution-based activism for our community. At any of our fridges, community members are encouraged to take what they need and leave what they don’t.
- The Produce: Americans throw out approximately 40% of their food every day. Yet, millions of people in this country don’t know where their next meal will come from. Now, in Atlanta, individual households, growers, and businesses will be given the opportunity of placing excess foods (that would have otherwise been thrown out) in our solidarity fridges. This will help reduce the amount of food that is wasted and redistributed the resources in our city to stock fridges and feed our neighbors.
Mutual Aid—Not Charity
Free99Fridge, like many other community fridges, operates on what is known as a mutual aid model. This differs from a traditional charity with the goal of empowerment. For the people. From the people.
- Differentiates those who have from those who need
- Puts those who are in a position of power to make decisions about how to meet others’ needs
- Relies on donations of rich people + profitable corporations
- Implements a criteria for who is deserving of assistance
- Emphasizes working cooperatively to meet each others’ needs
- Analyzes the causes of systemic issues and builds new social constructs for resolving those issues
- Utilizes often free resources available in the community
- Offered to all