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Struggling to afford groceries? These community fridges offer free food, no questions asked.

Community Fridge Bridgeport  Aida Rivera
Mark Mirko
/
Connecticut Public
As food prices rise, community fridges such as this one operated by Aida Rivera (above) at Kingdom Builders Impact Ministries are noticing an uptick in users over the last few months.

Around one in every 10 people in Connecticut are food insecure. They don’t have enough food, or nutritionally adequate food and they also lack the security to know that they’ll always be able to eat, according to a definition from the USDA. Many food insecure households don't meet the income requirements for public assistance or are considered income constrained. Data from the United Way shows 38% of Connecticut’s households struggle to meet their basic needs like housing, food, and healthcare —a greater share of this group falls just above the federal poverty line.

Community fridges have popped up in Connecticut in the last few years to help meet this need. They are public pantries, usually with both shelf-stable and refrigerated goods, located in a public and central location. Most are open 24 hours, seven days a week, and all the food is free, no questions asked.

Donations come from individuals, restaurants, and grocery stores. They are volunteer-started and maintained. Many are run by mutual aid groups, which is defined as people from a community helping others in that community, as opposed to organized charities or government assistance. Community fridges also tout that donations can help reduce food waste.


LEARN MORE: Meet Fridgeport, a community fridge helping neighbors feed neighbors


Find a fridge in Connecticut.

This is not a complete listing. To find more fridges in Connecticut or beyond, sites like Freedge list locations around the world.  Many of these fridges don’t accept meat and fish, and recommend that donations don’t include leftovers, unlabeled food, or anything the donor wouldn’t eat themselves. Some fridges also stock household supplies, toiletries, and supplies for young parents, like formula or diapers.

Bridgeport Fridgeport, 219 James Street, Bridgeport CT

Go to this fridge: This fridge is located in the front yard of Kingdom Builders Impact Ministries. Watch on Fridgeport’s Instagram for updates about when the fridge is full. Read more here.

Donate: Food donations are welcome at the fridge at any time. Kingdom Builders Impact Ministries accepts donations on behalf of the fridge, on Venmo, @Kingdom-Builder-219, on CashApp @$KBIMNOW, and on their website, Kingdom Builders Impact Ministry. Donations will help rent a truck for monthly trips they take to Manchester for food donations.

Fridgeport also recommends donating to a cause you care about, and frequently links to regional fundraisers, diaper banks, and abortion funds.

New Haven Fridge Haven, 242 Dixwell Avenue, New Haven CT

Go to this fridge: This fridge is located next to Varick Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church. This fridge frequently has other supplies like diapers, personal protective equipment, and more. Updates are posted on the fridge’s Instagram: Fridge Haven

Donate: Food donations are welcome at the fridge at any time.

Hartford Fridgeford, 280 Vine Street, Hartford CT 

Go to this fridge: This fridge is located in the front yard of a red house in a residential neighborhood. Fridgeford’s Instagram mostly posts about need for donations.

Donate: Fridgeford says they will pick up food donations, which can be coordinated via direct message on Instagram. People or organizations who want to donate should DM them on Instagram. They have also sought volunteers in the past.

Middletown Middletown Community Fridge, 33 Ferry Street, Middletown CT 

Go to this fridge: This fridge is attached to a Community Health Center, and open 24/7. It’s run by the Middletown Mutual Aid Collective, and sometimes stocked with toiletries and other household essentials.

Donate: The Middletown Community Fridge’s Instagram says they don’t take meat or prepared food as donations.

Deep River — Deep River Fridge 171 Main Street, Deep River, CT 

Go to this fridge: This fridge is located outside, behind Bennett’s Bookstore.

Donate: This fridge takes food donations at the fridge or in the bookstore. Their website says financial donations can go to @bennettsbookstore on PayPal.

Community fridge projects in New London and Waterbury are in progress.

Ali Oshinskie is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. She loves hearing what you thought of her stories or story ideas you have so please email her at aoshinskie@ctpublic.org.
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