By Iryna Shkurhan | [email protected]
In an effort to address food insecurity during the pandemic, community fridges started by regular New Yorkers popped up across the city. Oftentimes they are regular fridges, colorfully decorated, that sit on the sidewalk. Anyone can open the door and take what they need, no questions asked. And If your circumstances permit, you are welcome to leave quality food items for others.
The fridge movement is based on the concept of mutual aid, which rejects charity and encourages building interdependent relationships outside of power structures. It is powered through cooperation and the responsibility to take care of your neighbors.
Currently there are 136 community fridges across the city, according to the NYC Community Fridge Mapping project which tracks their location and status. The site allows visitors to post photos and updates on the contents of a fridge to keep fridge users informed. Fridgekeepers can also add a new fridge or update the status of an existing one.
There are several fridges that closed operations in the past several months due to various circumstances. But these five locations across Queens are still up and running.
Fenix Community Fridge
Located in Ridgewood, this fridge is run by Beatriz Perez who started the project in the beginning of the pandemic. At the time, she was working at Fenix Car Service on Seneca Ave where the fridge is currently located. With the recent influx of Latin American migrants arriving in NYC, organizers at the location stepped up to collect clothes, strollers and other necessary goods on top of their regular food distribution work. They regularly post updates on collections and events. You can find them on Facebook at @FenixCFridge.
Astoria Halal Fridge
In an effort to accommodate Astoria’s Muslim residents, the fridge only accepts food donations that are designed halal. It is located on 3513 23rd Avenue in Astoria, just behind the gates of the Dar Al-Da’awa Mosque. Once a former church, the location is now under the Muslim American Society of Queens. The weekly stocked fridge was an initiative of Little Egypt NYC, a community seeking to create safe spaces and economic power for the Egyptian diaspora. More information can be found on their Instagram @astoriahalalfridge.
Glennon’s Community Fridge
This fridge has been operated by Becky Glennon outside her home in Rockaway since 2020. For the past three years, Glennon has been providing food despite resistance from her neighbors who tried to destroy the fridge. Last week Councilwoman Ariola and her staff delivered over 2,000 pounds of fresh produce, the largest donation the fridge has received so far. It is located on Beach 92nd Street between Rockaway Beach Boulevard and Holland Avenue.
Ravenswood Community Fridge
A fridge outside of Hour Children, a nonprofit organization that supports women and families impacted by a mother’s incarceration. It is located near the Ravenswood Houses on 12-14 36th Avenue in Astoria. You can’t miss the colorful fridge with a flying raven and “free food” painted on the door. There is also a space for book donations on the side. Local residents say that the fridge is maintained and utilized regularly. They can be found on Instagram at @ravenswoodfridge for updates.
This fridge is located outside of Brothers Wash and Dry, a community space home to music events since the spring of 2019. It is run by Sampson Dahl, who also resides in the former laundromat. More information on the space can be found on his instagram @brotherswashndry or on his website https://sampsondahl.com/.