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New community fridge in Dartmouth aims to be ‘welcoming to anybody’

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A new community fridge has opened in Dartmouth to provide food for people who need it.

The fridge is located on the Christ Church grounds in downtown Dartmouth, with a sign out front that reads: “Created by our community, for our community. Leave what you can, take what you need.”

During the launch event Saturday, volunteer Lisa Scott, who has lived in the downtown Dartmouth area for more than 20 years, said the initiative strives to provide zero-barrier, 24/7 free food for the community.

“The landscape of downtown Dartmouth has changed quite a bit, but one thing that remained the same is the community spirit and pride,” she said.

“When things are tough, sometimes neighbours just need to come together, and this seemed like a really tangible way that everybody can contribute.”

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People can go to the community fridge in downtown Dartmouth to take what they need and leave donations. Ashley Field/Global News

The left side of the community building holds pantry items while the right side has a fridge to hold items that need to be kept cold. People can stop by the fridge, located at 61 Dundas St., to drop off food donations or take whatever they need.

Volunteers check the fridge twice a day to ensure the food inside is fresh, clean and non-expired.

Read more: The skyrocketing price for groceries, and how one Halifax woman calls it ‘very scary’

Scott said it was important for the fridge to be in an accessible, central location, to provide a dignified experience for those who use it.

“It’s something that we all expect as people, is to be respected,” she said.

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“Every single one of us has had a moment in our life when we have had a struggle, and have had to go to a neighbour or community resource for whatever it might be. In this case here today, it’s food.

“Food is necessary, but it’s also something that’s comforting, and I want the location here to be welcoming to anybody.”

The fridge also accepts monetary donations as well as food donations.

Fellow volunteer Laura Fraser also volunteers at the community fridge across the harbour in Halifax, located outside the Glitter Bean Café.

She said the fridge is well-used and demonstrates a need for more accessible food.

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“Almost as soon as it’s filled up, it’s empty again, so it is really a valuable resource for the community,” said Fraser, adding that people are “super generous” with food and monetary donations.

Read more: How to save at the grocery store amid rising food prices

The Dartmouth community fridge currently has 14 volunteers and Fraser said they’re looking for more.

She said the best part of the community fridge is there are no barriers to access.

“It’s open 24 hours a day — if you work a night shift, a food bank might not be accessible to you, but the fridge is always going to be accessible to people,” said Fraser.

Scott said being at the event Saturday and seeing people come out to support the initiative pushed her “to the verge of tears.”

“I’m so proud of my community,” she said.

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— with files from Ashley Field

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