Coronavirus News: Community refrigerators help New Yorkers struggling during pandemic

COVID-19 News and Information

ByLauren Glassberg and Eyewitness News WABC logo
Wednesday, July 22, 2020
Community refrigerators help New Yorkers struggling during pandemic
A number of community refrigerators have popped up across New York City to help those in need of food.

RIVERDALE, The Bronx (WABC) -- With millions of Americans out of work due to the coronavirus pandemic, a number of community refrigerators have popped up across New York City to help those in need of food.

Food activists Selma Raven and Sarah Allen restock their fridge on Broadway in the Riverdale section of The Bronx every morning.

"People are hungry, people are really hungry. We didn't know how it would pan out, but we saw the need," Raven said.

A need that has skyrocketed since the outbreak of COVID-19.

The pair was inspired by another refrigerator in Harlem.

"Both of us were active with volunteer work, but she has asthma and we wanted to something where we could help, but not be in touch with people," Allen said.

So they bought a fridge and asked various business owners if they could tap into their electricity.

PD Singh, owner of The Last Stop bar and restaurant, gave them the go-ahead and he's now like a proud parent.

"It was a wild idea in the beginning," Singh said. "When we saw everybody benefit I had to step back and say, 'yo, we are actually doing something really great right now.'"

There are now about 15 of the community refrigerators throughout New York City.

Each has its own story, including one placed by a teenager who saw hunger issues in Washington Heights.

Emily drops off items after she does her own shopping, but she wouldn't be ashamed to take something if she needed it.

"It's not the haves giving to the have nots. It's everyone contributing, everyone taking," Emily said.


Suddenly, the brutal death of George Floyd while in the custody of police officers in Minneapolis filled the streets of a nation with rage and sorrow. New York was no different. Protesters put the fear of the virus aside and took to the streets by the thousands. Abandoning the safety and comfort of social distance, to demand social change.


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