'Town Fridge', Oakland's free-food refrigerator, sees overwhelming support
OAKLAND, Calif. - A new grassroots community group in Oakland has found a unique way to feed the homeless and others on hard times.
That group is called 'Town Fridge.'
It provides refrigerators that are set up outside, and are stocked with fresh food. All of it is free.
We saw one homeless man fill two fresh fruits and vegetables from a pop-up refrigerator in West Oakland.
"This is the future where we actually embrace what abundance feels like," the man said.
That was one of three fully stocked refrigerators operating in Oakland these days, and more are likely on the way.
Organizers declined interview requests. But said in an email quote:
"When we started the project, we weren’t expecting this much attention! .for the time being, we are focusing all of our energy on getting the project off the ground and installing fridges."
The group asked we not reveal the locations of the refrigerators for fear of a stampede.
But community members supply the food, with labels that include when the items were donated and any ingredients.
People are asked to take only what they need.
One refrigerator was removed from Frank Ogawa Plaza because permits are required on city property.
In a statement, the city said: "But we are now actively working with them to help them realize this worthwhile project and to ensure any potential health and safety issues are addressed."
Comments on social media are overwhelmingly supportive, many suggesting refrigerators go up in other communities.
"Our family, friends the people we live six feet away from are providing for us so we don't have to feel the hunger and pains and lacks that we have been taught to be normalized," said the homeless man.
The Oakland group has recently inspired a similar program in San Francisco, called the SF Free Food Fridge.