CAMBRIDGE (CBS) — The motto at community fridges is simple: take what you need, leave what you can.
Denise Jillson is the Executive Director at the Harvard Square Business Association. Recently, she helped open a community fridge in Harvard Square at 52 Church St., the third community fridge in Cambridge.
“I think that’s what part of the beauty, its simplicity. Not only in the message, but in the way that it works,” said Jillson.
For Cambridge resident Chanele Darius, her reason for donating goods is personal. She shared, “food insecurity is something that hits very strong for me. My parents grew up with that and now they try to do the opposite: always make sure there’s plenty. And I think it’s a tragic thing that people can’t always guarantee a meal in front of them.”
In order to guarantee those meals to those in need, during the pandemic community fridges have popped up all over in communities like Brighton, Cambridge, and Dorchester.
“For the most part, the food is healthy. So people have been really thoughtful. So not only are they giving, but they’re really thinking about what they’re giving to make sure it’s meeting a real need,” said Jillson.
The fridges are run by volunteers, who can sign up to monitor both the fridge and the pantry and check up on things like expiration dates and product needs.
Ronke Ilegbusi is a volunteer at the Dorchester Community Fridge at 1471 Dorchester Avenue. She said the fridge is sanitized multiple times a day.
“We want to make sure it’s safe and sanitized as possible so people can come here and feel comfortable that the food here is not going to make them sick and it’s actually going to serve them,” Ilegbusi said.
The fridges are open 24/7, seven days a week. Popular items include eggs, dairy, produce, flour, cooking oil, and deli meat. Non-food items are also welcome, including diapers, baby wipes, cleaning supplies, laundry detergent, first aid supplies, and sanitizer.
For more on Harvard Square’s “Fridge in the Square,” visit its Instagram page.