The Auckland Community Fridge celebrates its first birthday
A year ago, a fridge was placed in central Auckland with the hope that it would encourage people to leave excess food for other people to take.
Known as the Community Fridge, it was set up with the intention of reducing food waste by sharing food with people who need it.
Now one year old, and a permanent fixture in Griffiths Garden, the Community Fridge has proven to be true to its name, becoming a prized feature of the central Auckland community.
It is estimated that since the fridge was installed, more than four tonnes of food has been donated to the fridge which is the equivalent to 11,000 meals.
The contents of the fridge vary every day as they are based on what people have to donate. In Autumn it was full of feijoas, while in Spring many people dropped off their excess citrus from their backyards.
There is a regular supply of food into the fridge every afternoon between 4 and 6pm when a team of volunteers collects salads, filled rolls and muffins from a local café and supermarket and drop it off to the fridge.
Community Fridge founder Amanda Chapman is thrilled with the fridge’s success, especially because many people were skeptical when it first launched.
“It is great to see so many people benefitting from this venture – we occasionally receive thank you notes, which makes it all worthwhile,” said Chapman.
“When we first installed the fridge, some people were concerned that the fridge would be vandalised or that people would donate unsafe food. On the whole, we’ve had very few issues. We were disappointed when the crisper drawers disappeared one at a time, but another of our volunteers managed to find replacement drawers from a broken fridge.”
The Community Fridge requires a team of volunteers to ensure it is clean, functioning correctly and well stocked.
Audrey van Ryn, a graphic designer, volunteers with the fridge as she is a passionate advocate for the homeless.
“I love the community fridge concept and would like to see every local board area have a fridge. Nobody should be without food and the fridge is a no-fuss way for people in need to access it. I don’t like to see anything that’s useful wasted, especially food,” said van Ryn.
With Christmas just around the corner, Chapman hopes that people will remember the Community Fridge over the upcoming holiday period.
“We also hope that the fridge is well utilised in the lead up to Christmas as it is traditionally a time when food waste increases significantly.”