The People's Fridge

The Community Fridge of Hawthorne is finding a new home here at Le Pain du Jour. Below we listed some FAQ about community refrigerators.

So what is a community fridge?

It’s exactly what it sounds like - a refrigerator, run by its community or neighborhood, like Leimert Park, Mid-City, or Arlington Heights. Inspired by a similar project in New York, businesses, organizations, and individuals work together to keep them stocked with everything from prepackaged salads to heirloom tomatoes to fresh herbs, eggs, and Gatorade. And all of it’s free! Anyone can take anything, and at any time of day. This fridge belongs to you.

Why is this a thing?

Maybe you should be asking, “Why isn’t this a bigger thing?” No? OK, well, fresh, nutritional food should never be a privilege. According to the Los Angeles Food Policy Council, LA has the largest number of food insecure people in the entire country - yet we dump more than one million tons of food into the city’s landfills every year. Many community fridges are located in areas with high levels of food insecurity, either in “food deserts” (neighborhoods that lack access to fresh, affordable food) or “food swamps” (neighborhoods where there is an overabundance of fast food).

Who’s in charge of it?

Technically, no one. Fridges are typically hosted by local businesses. All they need to do is provide the electricity (a.k.a. an outlet) and make sure that their location is accessible. Then, everything else - from the stocking to the cleaning to the maintaining - will be handled by volunteers in the community.

What’s the difference between this and a food pantry?

Unlike more traditional forms of aid, these fridges are 100% anonymous. This is crucial. There are no forms to fill out, or limits to what you can take (food pantries usually distribute resources based on income, or how many people are in your family), nor hours that you have to abide by. Anyone can come whenever they want, and take as much or as little as they want. And it’s that exact freedom of choice that makes the experience of acquiring food a lot more dignified - community fridges trust those in the community to make the right call for themselves.We are so ready to take part in this new experience. Hawthorne is a wonderful community, filled with amazing people. Having a fridge by us, for us, is a great way to reduce food waste, reclaim our health, and strengthen the community. If you or someone you know is interested in volunteering please DM @hawthornecommunityfridge on Instagram to learn more.

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