Community Fridge KW (CFKW) has recently moved to the heart of Downtown Kitchener, next to their new host — the Kitchener Market at 300 King St. E.
“Full Circle Foods, our last host, was moving and they couldn’t accommodate the fridge at their new location unfortunately. So that put us on the hunt for a new location,” said Edna Bozhori, a coordinator at CFKW and fourth-year health studies student at the University of Waterloo.
“We’re very lucky that we’re able to partner with the City of Kitchener and we’re now located at the Kitchener Market right there in Downtown Kitchener, which is a very essential location.”
As part of the reopening, CFKW has also expanded their donation capacity with the new addition of a pantry.
“We’re also super happy with the accessibility of the new location as well as the ability to add a pantry, as we were noticing that we were getting a lot of non-perishable donations,” Bozhori said.
A community fridge is a non-profit service, supported solely by a group of volunteers. This community fridge was first introduced to Kitchener-Waterloo back in December 2020.
“In general, it’s a mutual aid initiative that focuses on leveraging having a fridge in a community where people in the community can both give and take,” Bozhori said.
“Our motto — and the motto of most community fridges — is take what you need, leave what you can.”
Community fridges are designed to reduce the stigma and barriers to accessing food aid. The fridge is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week for anyone to use or drop off donations.
“Generally the purpose of a community fridge is two-fold, both to minimize food waste and fight food insecurity,” Bozhori said.
It has been almost one year since CFKW opened to the public. To operate the fridge safely during the pandemic, community volunteers have had to work hard to ensure proper health guidelines were followed. As restrictions relax across the province, the team at CFKW continue to make safety a priority.
“In most other domains things are changing given the COVID situation, but we still ask people to wear a mask when they are donating to the fridge, when they are in and around it. And our volunteers are still facilitating three check-ins each day to upkeep safety and health guidelines,” Bozhori said.
“We have updated our FAQs a bit with this new location, and so we have those links on our social media,” she added.