D.C. Nonprofit Tackles Food Insecurity with Community Fridges

Feed the Fridge, a Washington D.C.-based nonprofit organization, is helping to alleviate food insecurity while keeping restaurants in business.

The organization operates by placing refrigerators around the D.C. metro area and stocking them with fresh meals prepared by small, local restaurants. They also hand-deliver holiday meals to seniors who can’t leave their homes.

Feed the Fridge originally started as a short-term response to the pandemic but evolved into a long-term endeavor. “The inspiration for Feed the Fridge was that if people are hungry, get them the food that they want to eat and that is nourishing,” Leah Craft, Executive Director of Feed the Fridge, tells Food Tank.

Feed the Fridge has placed 22 refrigerators in locations including recreation centers and schools and provided more than 75,000 free meals to anyone in need. Through donations, the organization has been able to pay restaurants over US$700,000 to provide meals for the refrigerators. This in turn enables the restaurants to stay in business and pay their employees.

Each day, restaurants prepare fresh meals consisting of equal parts produce, protein, and carbohydrates. Feed the Fridge’s team then picks up the meals each morning and delivers them to refrigerators before sanitizing the refrigerators and filling them with 100 meals each. Anyone can take a meal from the refrigerator without questions or limitations.

Meal recipients have responded positively to the organization. “We’ve received tears of joy, letters of gratitude, emails of gratitude,” Craft tells Food Tank. “We’ve had parents tell us that for the first time in their life, they feel like they’ve done something right.” One single mother of four who works full time but is unable to make ends meet recently called Craft. She expressed her gratitude that she can take meals without proof that she is hungry or questions about how many children she has.

Craft explains that the public can support Feed the Fridge in a variety of ways—by donating, volunteering, or forming corporate sponsorships. “Connect with us, and we’ll find a way for you to become a partner of ours,” Craft says.

In the future Feed the Fridge aims to “have a fridge within four blocks of every person who is hungry and to expand nationwide,” Craft tells Food Tank. “We want to make sure that we are accessible to anyone who needs us.”

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