The free food fridge on Van Buren St. Photo: A New World In Our Hearts' Instagram.
The free food fridge on Van Buren St. Photo: A New World In Our Hearts' Instagram.

Curbside fridges full of free food are being set up around Brooklyn by residents determined to make sure their neighbors do not go hungry!

Currently, there are two fridges– one located at 133 Van Buren St in Bed-Stuy; and the other at 190 Knickerbocker Ave in Bushwick, with more being planned for. Both are constantly being restocked with healthy vegetarian food and are accessible to the public 24-hours a day with the message ‘Take what you need, leave what you don’t‘.

The free food fridge on Van Buren St. Photo: A New World In Our Hearts’ Instagram.

The fridge on Van Buren St was set up by activist and organizer Thadeaus Umpster, one of the people behind the Brooklyn Free Store and Food Not Bombs, alongside volunteers from vegetarian hunger relief nonprofit Community Solidarity and New York anarchist network A New World In Our Hearts.

Umpster said a lot of food was unnecessarily going to waste  in the community, and there was a depressing amount of need for healthy food in Brooklyn.

“The government is focused on bailing out and propping up major companies and the stock market. The government doesn’t care about us, so we need to help each other,” he told BK Reader.

The fridges are constantly being restocked with individual donations and ones from groups or businesses in the neighborhoods. But Umpster said even though the community response had been overwhelming with a lot of individual donations, more businesses needed to step up.

The free food fridge on Knickerbocker Avenue. Photo: Anna Bradley-Smith for the BK Reader.

Umpster said those organizing the fridges were regular people working together to help one another, and those that set up the Bushwick fridge were strangers to him before they reached out wanting to do the same thing in their neighborhood.

“Anyone can do it and we’d love to see more similar efforts happening around the city and beyond, and we’d be happy to help and share resources too,” he said.

Every Saturday at 3:00pm, Community Solidarity and Food Not Bombs hold a free food market at Herbert Von King Park in Bed-Stuy. Umpster said the need had grown considerably in the past month, and lines had doubled in length. Those wanting to donate food can drop it at the market on Saturdays, or leave it in one of the free fridges.

The City is providing three free meals a day to people across the five boroughs at 400 different public schools, and there are a number of nonprofits and mutual aid networks addressing food insecurity in the Borough, providing food to those in need.

Anna Bradley-Smith

Anna Bradley-Smith is Brooklyn-based reporter with bylines in NBC, VICE, Slate and others. Follow her on Twitter @annabradsmith.

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