Regina's Heritage neighbourhood home to city's third community fridge

·3 min read
Erica Mthembu holds open the fridge and freezer doors at the community fridge located on 12th Avenue. (Samanda Brace/CBC News - image credit)
Erica Mthembu holds open the fridge and freezer doors at the community fridge located on 12th Avenue. (Samanda Brace/CBC News - image credit)

Regina's Heritage neighbourhood has opened its own community fridge, located at 1510 12th avenue, plugged into Carmichael Outreach.

It's the third 24 hour community fridge for Regina. It's part of a global movement of mutual aid to address food insecurity and reduce food waste, that's picked up traction during the pandemic.

"The other two fridges are filled and emptied several times a day," Sara Maria Daubisse, a volunteer with the 12th Avenue fridge.

"Food insecurity is already a problem in Canada and Regina. And with the pandemic, it's just been made worse. There's so many people that are hungry and the need isn't filled yet. So definitely we needed another fridge, another way of feeding people so that they don't go hungry."

Anyone can access the fridge to grab free food and toiletries and anyone can donate.

Opening day was busy with people who spotted the fridge when passing by Carmichael Outreach, a non-profit that helps people who deal with poverty and homelessness.

A woman with two young girls in tow picked out yogurt drinks from the fridge.

"Five...six...seven...Seven because there are seven kids," she said as she helped the girls pack the bottles into plastic containers.

"It's great for us and great for the community," said a man who stopped by the community fridge.

"We want free food in our life sometimes, you know, when we need it, not all of us need it, but some of us do. It's a pleasure to be here and get the free food we need."

Food Desert

According to Daubisse, the fridge is located in spot known as a food desert, while Carmichael Outreach offers free hot meals, there isn't a grocery store within 2 kilometres.

"If you're walking, if you need to feed, even just yourself, but if you're feeding your children, how are you going to do two kilometres? Going there and then two kilometres back carrying your groceries?" said Daubisse.

"If you're having to take a taxi or public transit, then you're spending your money that you could be spending on food."

The 12th Avenue community fridge sits in an alley plugged into Carmichael Outreach. Two main doors open to a pantry while the fridge can be accessed by a side door.
The 12th Avenue community fridge sits in an alley plugged into Carmichael Outreach. Two main doors open to a pantry while the fridge can be accessed by a side door.(Samanda Brace/CBC News)

People are encouraged to help volunteer in anyway they can either by food and money donations or picking up food orders donated from a grocery store warehouse.

Erica Mthembu said she will be helping to clean the fridge twice a day and is looking for volunteers to assist.

Make neighbourhood safe

Both Daubisse and Mthembu are volunteers with another group called Heritage Helpers, where they look at ways to make the neighbourhood safe.

The group has gone on walks giving out drinks and granola bars. Daubisse said the fridge is another way to help improve safety and reduce crime.

What can be donated

"Personally, I was really motivated to be involved in the menstrual product side of it because that's a need that goes way under served," said Daubisse.

She said feminine hygiene products are needed but rarely donated.

"There's girls and women that are missing school because they have their periods. They're not able to go and like live a normal life, not able to go to work or miss work because they have their periods," said Daubisse.

"Definitely should not be something you have to choose between eating and having menstrual products."

Other items that can be donated are food products that are unopened and not expired. People can also donate baby formula, diapers, masks, hand sanitizer, dish soap, laundry detergent, pet food, shampoo and other toiletries.

A list of what can and cannot be donated is attached to the community fridge.
A list of what can and cannot be donated is attached to the community fridge.(Samanda Brace/CBC News)