On sidewalks around the world, community refrigerators are popping up to help fight hunger. 

The economic fallout of the coronavirus has been devastating; particularly in New York City. Millions of people are out of work, unable to pay rent, and in danger of going hungry. 

Compounding the issue is the disproportionate effects that the pandemic has had on Black and Brown communities

An estimated 1 million New Yorkers consistently went without food before the global pandemic began, and in only three months, that number has more than doubled.

While coordinated efforts to provide food have struggled, many New Yorkers have taken matters into their own hands. 

Dozens of community-operated refrigerators have popped up around the city. These refrigerators are stocked with surplus produce and food from individuals, organizations, and businesses.

The refrigerators are routinely sanitized by volunteers.

Some are supported by organizations like A New World in Our Hearts and Freedge. Others are simply operated by folks who are in a position to help, like The Friendly Fridge in the Bronx. 

“This is a people’s movement,” says Sade Boyewa, a community fridge organizer in New York. “And right now, people are hurting.”

Meanwhile, in other countries, the hunger situation is even more dire. 

Brazil has seen income drop for 70% of the population in their poorest communities. 

A project called “Geladeira Solidária” or Solidarity Refrigerators” has set up almost 100 community fridges around the country.

Projects like this are spreading. You can now find community fridges in the UK, China, Central America, South America, Canada, and elsewhere. 

Here is a comprehensive list of organizations and locations of community fridges around the world. 

While the human impacts of the last few months have been great, so too has the human response and spirit. Communities are coming together to take care of their people in a way that we’ve never quite seen before. 

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