Dartmouth group launches community fridge project as food prices rise

·2 min read
Lori Curtis and her daughter, Olive, donated to the new Dartmouth Community Fridge on Saturday. (Jeorge Sadi/CBC - image credit)
Lori Curtis and her daughter, Olive, donated to the new Dartmouth Community Fridge on Saturday. (Jeorge Sadi/CBC - image credit)

Volunteers have started a new community fridge project in Dartmouth to help people who are struggling with the increased cost of living.

They have been working on the plan for months. On Saturday, they held an event to mark the opening.

"More people are struggling, people that would not use traditional resources like food banks," said Lisa Scott, who has helped bring the idea to life.

About 40 people were on hand for the launch. Many donated food to get things going.

Those included Lori Curtis, who was there with her five-year-old daughter Olive Elsafy.

"I think it's a great thing to have in our community for people who don't have enough money to put food on the table," Curtis said. "Food prices are obviously extremely high so we just wanted to contribute."

Scott said Dartmouth's community spirit has been a big factor in getting the project up and running.

"This is a practical way that everybody in the community can reach out and say we've got your back, we're here for you," she said.

Jeorge Sadi/CBC
Jeorge Sadi/CBC

The fridge is located on the grounds of Christ Church, close to downtown Dartmouth.

The church already runs a food bank and sees the new project as another way to support people.

"There's only food delivery from Christ Church on two mornings during the week," said Christine Hoehne, a church food bank volunteer. "That leaves a lot of time where people are still very insecure in food."

The idea has another benefit, she said, in that people will be able to choose what they want when they visit, rather than have things packed for them.

Local builder helps construct shelter

The fridge is located in a purpose-built shelter that has been constructed in a style similar to the church that stands beside it.

There is plenty of shelving beside the fridge where pasta and canned goods are being stored.

Local company Bruno Builders did the work.

"Where we came to the table was to provide the materials, the labour to build this small but mighty structure," said company president Elliot MacNeil. "We wanted to ensure every dollar the company had went into food."

Jeorge Sadi/CBC
Jeorge Sadi/CBC

The fridge will be open 24/7. Scott hopes people will donate when they can.

She said it may also help with food waste in cases where people have more than they need, or are heading on vacation and have fruits, vegetables or eggs that could be dropped off.

Plans are also in the works to contact local restaurants, grocery stores and farms to see if there is a way they can contribute.

The goal is to make it a little bit easier for people who need a bit of help in challenging times.

"There's no judgment, there's no registration, it's about community coming together and helping each other out," Scott said.

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