What Is the ComeUnity Fridge?
Next to the Good 2 Go barbershop in Mariner’s Harbor is the Staten Island ComeUnity Fridge. It is a wooden shelter that houses a refrigerator and shelves. Colorful artwork decorates the space and bulletins are pinned to one side. An herb garden is growing in a painted plastic bin. The ComeUnity Fridge adds a pop of warmth and color to the urban, concrete sidewalk it sits on.
Written across the top of the shelter, in both English and Spanish, is the phrase, “Take What You Need. Give What You Can.” The ComeUnity Fridge calls out to all who live in the multicultural neighborhood. It is an inviting space that welcomes both those who need help and those who want to help.
The ComeUnity Fridge is a local volunteer group’s answer to this area’s food insecurity problem. Mariner’s Harbor is a food desert. Food deserts are areas where residents have limited access to healthy and affordable foods.
A Greater Need for Donations
The ComeUnity Fridge was almost completely empty and the shelves had limited cans and shelf-stable products on them during our visit.
The near-empty refrigerator and food pantry indicated an insufficient amount of food donations to keep the project going. We spoke to the founding volunteer, Alexandra, about this observation. People and businesses stock the refrigerator, she said, but it is often empty 20 minutes after being filled. There is a greater need for donations and the volunteers are having a hard time keeping up.
How You Can Help the ComeUnity Fridge
Staten Islanders are well-known for coming together during times of trouble. Food insecurity has reached record highs during the pandemic. Low-income neighborhoods like Mariner’s Harbor are living in this reality and need help from the greater Staten Island community to combat this problem.
- Money– The ComeUnity Fridge has a GoFundMe and a Cash App ($Forestavefridge) for monetary donations that they use to buy food for the fridge. Every little bit counts and every little bit helps.
- Time– Volunteer to help stock and clean the fridge and to maintain the space.
- Food Donations
- Individuals can bring donated food to the fridge at any time.
- Grocery Stores If you are a grocery store or market with excess fresh fruit, vegetables, or prepared foods, the ComeUnity Fridge can really use your help.
As per Alexandra, the ComeUnity Fridge is hoping to find more fruit stores and small markets to collaborate with. If you fall into this category and can offer assistance, you can reach out to the ComeUnity Fridge directly to set up a donation schedule. Email them at firstname.lastname@example.org