Food insecurity – when someone doesn’t know when or where they’ll get their next meal – is a scary and anxiety-inducing experience. And although this is a prevalent issue nationwide and in our very own Memphis community, most people aren’t comfortable sharing if it’s impacting them personally.
That’s what prompted LJ Abraham to begin Memphis-based 901 Community Fridges, an organization that provides food with ease of access and no limit, in February 2021. Inspired by similar initiatives across the country, Abraham has placed fridges in areas accessible by foot and entirely open to the public to access – whether individuals need food or want to donate.
Earlier this year, they were officially registered as a 501c3 nonprofit, which will enable Community Fridges to apply for grants and organize fundraisers to sustain their mission.
Unlike large-scale food banks, the refrigerators are currently donation-based. They accept monetary donations, as well as food, hygiene products and other resources like maintenance support or refrigerators. At Eclectic Eye, community involvement is a part of who we are and we take great pride in Memphis. When I brought this organization to my team, we rallied around the idea of preparing lunches and purchasing other kitchen staples to distribute to the three locations. After a trip to the grocery store, the Eclectic Eye team gathered to make sandwiches, pack snacks, and organize what was going to each location.
If you’re interested in supporting the 901 Community Fridges, there are some important things to keep in mind when donating:
- No raw meat, alcohol, or expired products
- Ingredients should be marked, especially if containing popular allergens such as nuts, dairy, meat, gluten, etc.
- Food items must be unopened (if store-bought), though homemade meals are welcome! Just include what it is, and the popular allergens they may contain, on the packaging.
It’s safe to say if you use it at home, it’s probably a good item to donate! Some popular donations are:
- Fresh fruits and veggies
- Bread, cereal
- Sugar, flour, cornbread mix
- Cooking oils
- Vegan items (tofu, vegetable broth, vegan cheese, vegan lunch meat)
If you feel led to donate, they currently have three locations:
- 1000 S Cooper St (First Congregational Church)
- 685 S Highland St (Trinity Church)
- 362 Tillman St. (Binghampton Community Church).
You can also donate directly to the fridge or pantry near you. Based on their recently acquired 501c3 status, they are also seeking volunteer grant writers and fundraising assistance.
Written by eyewear architect, Tori Bone.