What to Know
- A fridge pantry created to help a community ravaged by the pandemic fight food insecurity among its residents, may soon see its final days.
- Located on the sidewalk outside East 141st St. near Saint Ann’s Avenue, "The Mott Haven Fridge" was founded by Daniel Zauderer and Charlotte Alvares, local sixth-grade teachers at the American Dream School in the Bronx.
- The refrigerator pantry, which debuted in September, is available 24/7 and has a simple goal: to provide those in need with no-questions-asked access to fresh produce and other food essentials.
A fridge pantry created to help a community ravaged by the pandemic fight food insecurity among its residents, may soon see its final days.
Located on a sidewalk near the intersection of East 141st Street and Saint Anns Avenue, the Mott Haven Fridge was founded by Daniel Zauderer and Charlotte Alvarez, local sixth-grade teachers at the American Dream School in the Bronx.
The refrigerator pantry, which debuted in September, is available 24/7 and has a simple goal: to provide those in need with no-questions-asked access to fresh produce and other food essentials.
The refrigerator was placed in a community devastated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, becoming a lifeline for countless individuals and families experiencing food insecurity.
"Once, I spoke with a mom who told me that she had to choose between missing an appointment at a food pantry or miss an appointment with a cardiologist to treat her daughter with a chronic heart condition," Daniel Zauderer, founder of Mott Haven Fridge, told News 4 New York. "Imagine having to choose between two life-sustaining needs. I knew we had to do something for the community we loved."
According to Zauderer, the community fridge is located outside Chicky Mini Market, but its current owners no longer want it outside their locale because it is holding up a change in the business' ownership. News 4 New York called the mini-market for comment numerous times, to no avail.
Upon learning that the fridge's uncertain future was tied to a sale, Zauderer started a petition to save the fridge. At the time of this article's publication, the petition received more than 2,000 signatures in just a few days. Zauderer hopes the new potential bodega owner realizes it's more of a "gift than a curse" having the refrigerator near their business.
The fridge's location "was strategically chosen to meet the needs of the greatest number of hungry families. We are located near a bus stop, a Citi Bike Sharing Station, six schools, eight religious places of gathering, and thousands of apartments- most of which are subsidized or NYCHA public housing," Zauderer noted in the online petition.
While the Mott Haven Fridge can be moved to another location, Zauderer says they are trying not to have this take place in order to avoid creating yet another obstacle for those in need and adding more distance between residents and their access to fresh food.
Since its inception, the community fridge has received support including from Assemblywoman-Elect Amanda Septimo, who was at the ribbon-cutting ceremony, as well as local restaurants.
The Mott Haven Fridge is fully stocked thanks to a myriad of nonprofits, restaurants, farmers and volunteers throughout the community.
"What we desperately need now are volunteers to help deliver, stock, clean, and maintain the fridge, and funds to help us last the winter and feed more families," Zauderer said.