IMPACT: New Cobourg Neighborhood Fridge venture goals to fill starvation … – The Peterborough Examiner

A bunch of volunteers have teamed up with Native Meals for Native Good to put in the Cobourg Neighborhood Fridge on the Cobourg Public Library. Clockwise from left are Aimee Johnston, Meghan Sheffield, Jenni Frenke, Claire Frenke and Melanie McGill.

A small fridge and a big-hearted group effort helps to make a distinction for Cobourg residents experiencing meals insecurity.

The Cobourg Neighborhood Fridge opened in earnest on Dec. 30 within the foyer of the Cobourg Public Library. As of Jan. 3, the apartment-size fridge was absolutely stocked with donated vegetables and fruit, staples resembling milk, bread and juice, in addition to heat-and-serve dishes and different gadgets.

And it’s all free for the taking.

The Cobourg Neighborhood Fridge venture was initiated amongst a small group of devoted native volunteers who’ve partnered with native non-profit charity Native Meals for Native Good, the Fare Share Meals Financial institution and the Meals for All warehouse. Volunteers sought out and obtained meals donations from Foodland Cobourg and native eating places, together with the Black Cat Cafe, Starbucks Cobourg, the Market and Smor, the Mill Restaurant, Happenstance Bakery and the Lass and Ladle/SOUPS2GO, which have all agreed to donate extra meals when obtainable.

Aimee Johnston, the lead volunteer of the group fridge venture, stated the concept got here out of a necessity to assist Cobourg neighbours battling the excessive price of meals.

“It was time to start out pondering exterior of the field for inventive options for these (who) are battling meals insecurity with the rising price of residing; it was time to get inventive and that is a kind of inventive options,” stated Johnston.

“Between myself and the opposite volunteers who’re engaged on this … there’s (an) power on the market (with) individuals who need to assist and assist make meals extra accessible and take care of our neighbours, and take care of our group and simply attempt to make it a extra related place,” she added, noting volunteers plan to place up posters in locations just like the warming room at St. Peter’s church to assist unfold the phrase.

Johnston stated the motivation for a group fridge in Cobourg got here from a co-volunteer’s relative who’s a part of a bunch of volunteers in Alberta who began and proceed to take care of a group fridge program there.

“We needed to start out an identical program the place it’s actually low-barrier the place of us can come, entry meals actually simply with none obstacles and we like the truth that there’s dignity concerned. Of us can simply open up the fridge and assist themselves and take what they want.”

The group fridge’s opening coincided with the finished inspection by the native well being unit. Johnston famous the well being unit issued a move for the group fridge, contingent upon it receiving meals from inspected areas, in addition to preserving the fridge clear and eradicating any meals that’s expired.

“As per public well being tips we are able to solely settle for meals from inspected sources — resembling eating places, grocery shops, bakeries and meals banks. Neighborhood members could make financial donations to Native Meals for Native Good particularly for this venture, although,” stated Johnston.

Cobourg Public Library CEO Tammy Robinson famous the library was initially approached in August of final 12 months concerning the Cobourg Neighborhood Fridge venture and “was fairly enthusiastic about it” however needed to first achieve approval from the City of Cobourg earlier than it may transfer forward.

The group fridge proposal additionally got here earlier than the library board in September. Board members, stated Robinson, had a number of questions earlier than in the end signing on to the venture.

“There was no opposition to having the group fridge right here however there have been a number of questions that we wanted to make sure that sure issues have been going to be met, resembling who was going to take care of the fridge and keep the fridge, who was going to inventory the fridge, upkeep of the fridge,” stated Robinson.

“These have been the extra technical questions, however when it comes to what the fridge would imply in the neighborhood and what it might provide the group there was actually no hesitation there in any respect.”

Robinson famous that because the opening within the library’s foyer it has been properly utilized by these needing meals to get by.

“Oh my goodness … there are folks on the fridge each single day eradicating gadgets from the fridge. Simply yesterday, we had a patron come to the library who visits the library fairly continuously and he or she is a member of the weak group and he or she was capable of refill a grocery bag of meals and he or she was so pleased,” she stated.

Robinson stated she’s happy to see the fridge up and working on the library as there are numerous individuals who use the library as a warming centre who are also in want of the meals the group fridge offers.

“It simply breaks your coronary heart when folks in our group are going with out. So, we’re very pleased to companion with Native Meals for Native Good and supply this service. It’s a much-needed service, sadly, in our group,” stated Robinson.

Johnston stated the library was a pure match for the group fridge because it’s a downtown hub that can also be accessible and open seven days per week.

“The library was great with permitting us to make use of their area.”

Nicole Beatty, founder and board member of Native Meals for Native Good — a non-profit, volunteer-driven group devoted to connecting folks with meals — famous comparable tasks have popped up throughout Ontario and Canada, impressed by the motion of free group libraries that promote literacy. The Cobourg Neighborhood Fridge venture promotes not solely meals safety, but in addition meals entry, and meals rescue.

“It’s particularly centered round accessing ready meals and recent produce — stuff you typically can’t discover at a meals financial institution. Additionally, it’s a meals rescue venture, working with grocery shops, eating places, and bakeries who on the finish of the day might need surplus stock, not essentially expired meals, however meals that might in any other case be wasted,” stated Beatty.

Beatty is heartened by the way in which varied native companies devoted to meals safety — Fare Share Meals Financial institution and Meals for All warehouse — all work collectively to make tasks just like the Cobourg Neighborhood Fridge come to fruition.

“We’re all working collectively to offer completely different entry, and dignified methods to assist and feed our neighbours. We’re working with one another to fill gaps and never create duplication,” stated Beatty, including the fridge venture has obtained a “beneficiant reception” by the group to date.

She’s additionally believes the venture can act as an incubator for higher meals rescue within the space, which not solely helps with meals safety for these in want, but in addition advantages the group environmentally and economically by lowering waste.

Beatty famous that anybody fascinated about serving to assist the venture is inspired to make a money donation via the Native Meals for Native Good web site at

STORY BEHIND THE STORY: After listening to concerning the lately opened Cobourg Neighborhood Fridge, we caught up with organizers to delve into the way it will assist with meals insecurity for native residents. 

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