Victoria opens first community fridge for people facing barriers to accessing food

WatchVictoria now has its own community fridge — located at 2725 Rock Bay Ave. — where people can pick up food for free or donate anytime. Tahmina Aziz reports.

Victoria now has its own community fridge, located at 2725 Rock Bay Ave., where people can pick up food for free or donate anytime.

Many in the community say the initiative was desperately needed, including Patricia Mooney, who picked up some food from the fridge on Friday.

“Makes me feel really fulfilled and good and like, people care for me,” she said.

She and others in the community have heard about the project through social media.

“I think it’s just such a needed resource in our community right now,” said Shannon Kane, who dropped off some food on Friday.

She said food disparity increased due to the pandemic and she plans on donating more food in the near future.

Community Food Support, the group spearheading the initiative, encourage people to “take what you need and leave what you can” when accessing the community fridge.

“They don’t have to go out and sign up for anything. They can just come here and take what they need. And you can give back as well without having it be a big show,” said Jessica Girdard, operations manager of The Number, who’s agreed to offer their space for the fridge.

Inspired by community fridges popping up around North America, the purpose behind the initiative is to help those facing barriers to accessing food.

Since officially opening last week, Victoria residents are embracing the service — not just to take what they need but also helping out.

“At times, you know, I could benefit from a fridge like this. So, it makes me feel happy that I can, in return, contribute back to the community,” said Kostia Iakymov, who donated cans of food on Friday.

While Community Food Support accepts most food, there are some guidelines — people cannot donate raw meat, seafood, alcohol, or expired or frozen foods.

The group launched a GoFundMe page with the money being used to keep the fridge stocked.

A food drive is taking place on Saturday where people can drop off non-perishables, hygiene products and grocery cards.

More information can be found on the group’s website and social media.

Tahmina AzizTahmina Aziz

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