In late summer 2020, we heard of a grassroots effort to provide mutual aid and bring food to those disadvantaged in their access to food: the Detroit Community Fridge in Southwest Detroit. Having worked with Food Rescue US - Detroit for quite some time, we understood the importance - and sometimes difficulty - in getting food to those that need it most and we knew the community fridge would help achieve that mission. A few of our staff members began to drop off donations of greens and salads and after seeing the take-what-you-need, leave-what-you-can model at work, we started to imagine what a community fridge would look like in Islandview.
We set out to learn more about how the first fridge came to be and invited the founders, Alyssa and Emily, to our office to chat. They told us the story of a serendipitous start - an extra fridge, a community connection, a whimsical paint job, and voila - the fridge was up and running. Our wheels began to turn and we started brainstorming ideas about where our neighborhood community fridge could live, reaching out to our connections in Islandview and West Village. A few months and several emails later, we partnered up with the team at Sister Pie and Belinda Gilmore, a long-time Islandview resident and community organizer, to bring a fridge closer to the farm.
With the help of Sister Pie’s Neighborhood Fund, Belinda’s generosity in offering a permanent home for the fridge, and Dwight’s organizing and physical labor, we officially launched the Islandview Community Fridge in March 2022, making it the fifth community fridge in the city of Detroit. Along with our partners, we maintain the fridge location, visiting a minimum of two times per week to donate salads, greens, and other produce. We make sure all opened and out-of-date food is disposed of and tidy up whenever necessary. We’ve already seen the fridge become an important piece of Islandview - items donated to the fridge are never there for long and our partners at Sister Pie activated the location for 4 days of lunch giveaways earlier this summer, sponsored by RAISE: High Road Restaurants.
We are so proud of the collaborative effort to install and maintain the Islandview Community Fridge. Providing locally grown, pesticide free, nutritious food to our immediate neighborhood has become a pillar of our community mission, one made achievable by our work with Sister Pie, Belinda, and the Detroit Community Fridge Network.
The Islandview Community Fridge is located at 1812 Field St and is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Items can be picked up or donated at any time. Take what you need, leave what you can.