Sometimes we end up overbuying groceries – whether due to an oversized grocery box delivery, or a visit to the grocery store when we were too hangry to see straight. Instead of forcing ourselves to plough through that extra produce before it goes bad, wouldn't it be better to share it with those in need? That's where Community Fridges Toronto comes in.
Thanks to this new community-run initiative, it’s now easier than ever to donate your extra grocery items to people within your neighbourhood who may be suffering from food insecurity. Started by Jalil Bokhari with the help of Julian Bentivegna, chef-owner of Ten restaurant, Community Fridges Toronto has facilitated the installation of several 24-hour fridges around Toronto.
Each community fridge is located outside of a restaurant, store or business where it can be plugged in, and is easily accessible to the community all hours of the day. Signs on the fridges read, "Free food. Take what you need. Leave what you can." The no-questions-asked system allows people to take whatever they need from inside the fridges without having to worry about the stigma or judgement that can sometimes come along with a food donation.
Those interested in donating can simply bring produce, water, non-perishables or clearly labelled meals to the fridge in their neighbourhood and pop them inside. People in the community who are in need can then come by and take what they need as they please.
The community fridges are kept clean and organized by volunteers, but it's appreciated when donators can help ensure that the things they drop off are left in a neat and tidy manner.
In its first few months, Community Fridges Toronto has already seen an overwhelming amount of support from Torontonians. The fridges have been filled and emptied many times over and the initiative organizers are looking for ways to expand. Since the first fridge was set up outside of Ten restaurant, three others have opened up across the city, and there are plans in the works for even more. Pantry boxes for non-perishable items are also being added beside the fridges.
Here is the full list of community fridges in Toronto where food donations can be dropped off, or collected by those in need.
Community Fridges Toronto: Brockton Village
1132 College St. W
Community Fridges Toronto: Parkdale
1614 Queen St. W
Community Fridges Toronto: Regent Park
555 Dundas St. E
Community Fridges Toronto: West Queen West / Trinity Bellwoods
782 Adelaide St. W
For more up to date information about Community Fridges Toronto, follow their official Instagram account, @cf___to.