In keeping with a trend that’s exploded across the country during the coronavirus pandemic, Dallas’s first community fridge is now officially serving those in need in Oak Cliff.
Called the People’s Fridge, this community fridge is located inside the Pan-African Connection bookstore at 4466 South Marsalis Avenue in Oak Cliff, and it’s already packed with food for those in need. For those who are not familiar with community fridge programs, they’re similar to the Little Free Libraries that have cropped up in neighborhoods all over — those who are able make donations to the community fridge, which is open to all people who are having trouble getting enough food to eat.
According to organizer Jasmine Coleman, the People’s Fridge was born out of her own struggle. “This, right now, is the hardest part of a lot of people’s lives, their rock bottom,” Coleman tells Eater. “I’ve been in that position, where I’m asking myself how I’m going to survive, and in those moments, the only thing that got me out was the support of other people around me. I felt like it was an important thing to have in the community to help those who are suffering during this time.”
So, Coleman pulled together donations and grants to place her first community fridge at Pan-African Connection. Here, Coleman is collecting pre-packaged foods and meals only — think instant ramen, frozen waffles, canned goods, bottled water, and other sealed items — to ensure that the fridge stays as safe as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to this community fridge, Coleman is still looking for businesses that can host the two other refrigerators that her group has acquired. Anyone with a storefront, like a nail shop or restaurant — pretty much any business that has the capacity to hold either a regular household refrigerator, or even a mini-fridge,” Coleman says. “Right now our main focus is getting a host for the two we have, but we are always accepting more fridges if people have those to donate.” The group is also currently in search of restaurant partners, farmers, and other groups that frequently have leftover food to ensure that the People’s Fridge stays stocked continually.
The People’s Fridge is currently accepting donations in-person in Oak Cliff, and donation pick-up is also available. Follow the group on Instagram for more details on future locations and volunteering opportunities.