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The communal fridge helps put fresh groceries on the table for the fighting Calgarians – Calgary

In the Calgary community of Crescent Heights, a new and unique pantry is in operation in the neighborhood with a working refrigerator.

Founders say it allows Calgarians to donate or collect fresh produce and other perishable items – something that is not normally available in community pantries.

“Perishable foods are harder to come by,” said Alice Lam, co-founder of the project. “We really want to make sure we have access to fresh food all year round.”

The Calgary Community Fridge pilot was triggered by similar projects across North America.

“Basically, a couple of friends got together,” said Lam. “We saw other refrigerators pop up in Toronto and New York and wanted to bring them to Calgary.”

The shared refrigerator in Calgary serves fresh groceries.

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The group launched a fundraiser that started quickly.

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“We raised over $ 15,000 in two days.”

But they didn’t have to call up all of the money at the beginning. Most of what they needed, including building materials, was donated.

Lam said that helped them help more Calgarians in need.

“During the COVID (-19) many people’s incomes are stretched. This is just another way to have access to a little extra, especially for families who need cash. “

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Meet the need

Many Calgarians have had trouble putting food on the table in recent years, and the pandemic has only made the situation worse.

The Calgary Food Bank told Global News that demand had increased – by the thousands.

CEO James McAra said the grocery bank had served 64,000 customers since early March, many of whom were new.

At the height of the pandemic, the number of new customers rose by 27 percent, and although that number has now risen to eight to ten percent, there are still many mouths to be fed.

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McAra said he expected demand to pick up again once the state benefits were depleted and students went back to the classroom.

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Neighbors help neighbors

Matt Lemon is one of several neighbors who filled the fridge.

“We have an herb garden in our back yard that is way more than we can handle,” he said.

Lemon knows times are tough and anyone can use a hand, and he’s more than happy to have it.

“There are vulnerable people in the community,” he said.

“Some people need help so we can do something small, something that we put around the house to help some people, why not?”

The shared refrigerator in Calgary serves fresh groceries.

Global Calgary

The neighbor Katie Hopkins couldn’t agree more. She also said the pantry / refrigerator had an added benefit.

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“This is a great way for the community to network, and it’s a great way to help those who need it.”

Lam said while the fridge is in Crescent Heights, it’s open to anyone in Calgary.

“There is no judgment, no questions are asked,” she added. “Whoever needs it – can take it.”

The group is working on installing a second refrigerator in town, hopefully next month.

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