To Help The Hungry, Community Fridges Spread Across Boston

Mattapan fridge coordinator Nikkia Jean Charles (right) helps Kristi Downey and her son load food into the free fridge and pantry. (Saraya Wintersmith/GBH News)

About a dozen refrigerators offering free food have popped up on sidewalks throughout Boston’s neighborhoods, the latest in Mattapan.

The free-standing appliances are part of a national trend of volunteers acquiring a donated refrigerator, finding a host willing to share electricity and recruiting other volunteers to clean and stock the fridge. The food is available free to anyone, no questions asked.

In the months since Boston’s first free fridge appeared in Jamaica Plain last September, others have appeared in the region, including Worcester, Somerville, Roslindale and Dorchester. Organizers in Roxbury and the South End say more are on the way.

“We’ve seen a vacuum in government support for our communities and so, it’s not like we can just sit around and wait,” said Qian Mei, who coordinates fridges in Cambridge. “We’re obviously screaming and kicking for government to enact policies, but in the meantime we have to be active and proactive about serving our own communities.”

The Mattapan fridge was placed on Blue Hill Avenue around Christmas. “We decided it was a no-brainer to do what we can,” said Fiex Thevenin, whose juice café is providing the electricity.

Read the rest of the story at GBH’s website.