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Community fridge helps bridge the food gap in Buffalo neighborhood

The Buffalo Community Fridge is a grassroots effort to provide fresh food to those who need it.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Food insecurity has become even more of an issue in Buffalo and Western New York because of the pandemic.

A group of community advocates; however, have come together to try and provide a solution for residents near the East Ferry Street and Jefferson Avenue neighborhoods.

"Our mission is to build stronger community bonds, eliminate food waste, and address food insecurity through mutual aid," said Jessie Reardon, founder of the Buffalo Community Fridge.

Located outside the location Gigi’s Place Soul Food on East Ferry Street, the Buffalo Community Fridge is filling a big food insecurity gap in the neighborhood.

"It has everything in there," said Maddy, a patron of the free fridge. "Everything that you need."

The free fridge started in October. The fridge provides free food and ingredients to those that need it.

"The whole idea is that the community is helping each other," said Reardon. "So I bring some food, someone else takes some food, someone else brings some food, I may take some food. It’s really built on mutual aid."

Inspired by other fridges in New York City and other metro areas across the country, the Buffalo Community Fridge is refilled several times a week,

"There are some times where we filled the entire fridge, like we just did, and it could easily be gone a few hours," said Claire Phelan, another organizer of the community fridge. "A lot of community members just are encouraged to come to donate food, we’d prefer them to come to do it in person because then you’re part of the community."

The organizers behind the community fridge are encouraging others to start their own. 

"Our main goal right now is really encouraging people and giving support for them to start their own refrigerator," Reardon said. "Ultimately, this summer, we would like to see refrigerators everywhere in Buffalo, that’s the goal.”

You can learn more about the Buffalo Community Fridge on their Instagram page.