How to Find Free Food in the “public Fridge”

Earlier this year, we wrote about how to launch the Friendly Fridge, a public fridge for donated or leftover food that might otherwise go to waste and which food insecure people can access for free. These so-called “vacancies” have been around for several years, but since the start of the pandemic, they have become even more important resources.

So, if you or someone you know wants to supplement your groceries with fresh produce, a dozen eggs, or a gallon of milk, how do you find the Friendly Fridge? Several different websites can help you.

  • Freedge.org : This site has resources for running and maintaining public refrigerators, as well as a location map. Refrigerator managers must provide their location to appear here, so this is not a complete list.
  • Freedges Around the World Table : This is a general table of freedge locations around the world on Google with addresses and social media links. Again, not exhaustive, but a good starting point.
  • ChangeX : This site connects volunteers with public refrigerator projects. At the time of this writing, this is a small list, but it is another resource for finding refrigerators in your area.
  • Instagram: Enter “public fridge” or “free fridge” on Instagram and you’ll get a long list of accounts for specific cities, networks, and areas. The hashtags #communityfridge and #freefridge also open up maps and location lists.
  • Google: A good old Google search for “[CITY] public refrigerator” can also help you find bodies of water in your area.

There is an honor system in local refrigerators – the ethic was described as “take what you need, leave what you can”. This means you can use the free funds as needed, no questions asked, but you can also donate if you have the opportunity.

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