Our purpose is to serve the underserved by providing free nourishing food, and other human essentials to those in need.
Our mission at Neighborhood Fridge is to combat food insecurity and waste in underserved communities in Central FL by creating a decentralized network of community fridges and pantries.
We operate on the principles of mutual aid and solidarity, providing free access to healthy, fresh food, and other essentials to all members of the community regardless of socioeconomic status. We recognize that systemic barriers, food waste, climate change, unsustainable food systems, and inflation are key contributors to the persistence of food insecurity and poverty in our communities, disproportionately affecting B.I.P.O.C and low-income individuals.
To address these root causes, we practice mutual aid, by collaborating with local organizations and volunteers to build a more equitable and just food system. In addition to relying on donations from individuals and local businesses, we rescue food that would otherwise go to waste, reducing both hunger and food waste.
Our project is guided by the belief that access to nutritious food is a basic human right, and that mutual aid is a powerful tool for building stronger, more resilient communities.
By creating alternative structures of care that prioritize community, self-determination, and collective action, we work towards a world where everyone's basic needs are met, and where systemic inequalities are dismantled.
A community fridge and pantry project is a mutual aid grassroots initiative aimed at combating food insecurity within underserved communities. It involves setting up a network of public fridge(s) & pantries in a central location where locals can donate & access free food, and other essentials.
In order to receive the protections of the Emerson Act, donors must donate “qualifying” types of food. Qualifying products are “apparently wholesome foods” or “apparently fit grocery products” and meet “all quality and labeling standards imposed by Federal, State, and local laws and regulations,” even if they are not “readily marketable due to appearance, age, freshness, grade, size, surplus, or other conditions.”
With that being said, you can donate perishable & non-perishable food items, fresh produce, dairy products, toiletries, pet food, non-alcoholic beverages and other essential items. It's important to ensure that all items are unopened, within their expiration date, and stored in appropriate conditions. Here’s a list of acceptable items:
✓ Fresh Produce
✓ Bread and Pastries
✓ Electrolyte Drinks
✓ Milk, Eggs, Yogurt
✓ Dry foods
✓ Canned Soup
✓ Prepackaged Labeled Meals
✓ Hygiene Products
✓ Feminine Products
✘ Alcohol or Drugs
✘ Raw Meat or Fish
✘ Unlabeled or Expired Food items
✘ Rotting or Moldy food
✘ Open Food Containers
✘. Large/small Food Trays
✘ Clothing Donations
✘ Homemade Food
Yes, although we are unincorporated we have a fiscal sponsor and can provide an end-of-year receipts for businesses that donate Food, Fridges, Funds, Materials and other essentials to us.
Yes. We understand that not everyone has access to reliable transportation, the ability to drive and pick up or drop off donations due to busy schedules and other working class challenges. This is why we will happily pick up or drop off items (if available) directly to you.
Not at all. Anyone is welcome to take what they need and leave what they don't. Please read through the entire FAQ before dropping food off.
How can I support Neighborhood Fridge?
You can get involved by sponsoring us, donating food, and other essential items, volunteering your time to help organize and maintain the fridge & pantry, and spreading the word about the project in your community so that we can expand. We are powered by Mutual Aid so any and all support is welcomed, check out our volunteer form to see if any of our needs suit your skill set. Click here to be redirected to the form.
The Emerson Act covers individual people, businesses, nonprofit organizations, government entities, and the officers of businesses and nonprofit organizations. It also covers gleaners–individuals that harvest donated agricultural crops to give to the needy or to a nonprofit organization that distributes to the needy. The Emerson Act defines a nonprofit as either an incorporated or unincorporated entity that operates “for religious, charitable, or educational purposes” and does not provide net earnings to, or operate in any other manner for the benefit of any officer, employee, or shareholder. Given this expansive definition, most mutual aid organizations and community fridges will likely be considered a “nonprofit organization” under the Act, so long as they do not operate for profit and regardless of whether they are incorporated formally or whether they are exempt from federal taxes under 501(c)(3). Food donors are protected when they donate to nonprofit organizations and nonprofit organizations are protected when they distribute the food to needy individuals, but direct donations from food businesses or individuals directly to other individuals are not protected. Protection also will not apply unless the donations are given for free.
Food donations must be made in good faith, and protection will not apply if the food donor or nonprofit organization acts with gross negligence or intentional misconduct. Gross negligence means the donor took actions they knew were “likely to be harmful to the health or well-being of another person,” and intentional misconduct means the donor knows the conduct “is harmful to the health or well-being of another person.” It should be noted that even if a donation is not covered by the Emerson Act, it is not illegal to donate or accept that donation. It only means that the parties to the donation will not be afforded federal liability protections if someone were to pursue a legal action against them. Furthermore, state laws may provide additional liability protections.
✦ Inspect the packaging: Look for signs of damage, such as dents, bulges, or tears, on cans, boxes, and other packaging. If a package is damaged or open, don't take the item.
✦ Practice good hygiene: Wash your hands before and after handling food from the fridge or pantry. If possible, use hand sanitizer before and after taking food as an additional precaution.
✦ Keep it clean: Be mindful of cleanliness when taking or leaving food. Don't leave any trash or litter behind, and wipe up any spills or messes you make.
✦ Follow storage instructions: If an item has specific storage instructions, such as "refrigerate after opening," be sure to follow them to ensure the food stays safe to eat.
✦ Please don't take more than you need: Although we do not police how much anyone takes, we ask that you be mindful of other people who may also need items from the fridge or pantry, and only take what you need for yourself or your family.
✦ If in doubt, throw it out: If you're unsure whether a food item is safe to consume, or if you suspect it may have been tampered with or contaminated, it's better to throw it out than risk getting sick.
✦ Help us help you: If you see something that goes against our Safety Policy, like rotting or expired items, anything that doesn't belong inside the fridge or pantry, help us by throwing it away. You can also contact us to report any issues that you don't feel comfortable handling. We are volunteer-led, so we can always use the extra help from community members (like you!)
Your support and involvement are crucial to the success of our community fridge-pantry. If you'd like to learn more about how to help or have any other questions, please fill out the form below our team will be in touch!
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