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Community fridge effort hasn’t cooled off

BY THE VILLAGE SUN | There’s no post-Christmas letdown at the community fridge at E. 12th St. and First Ave.

After serving up meals to needy New Yorkers on Christmas Day last Friday, the novel initiative was still going strong after the holiday weekend on Monday evening. The refrigerator stands on the sidewalk outside Sarita’s Macaroni & Cheese a.k.a. S’MAC.

Sarah Mills was wrapping fresh bagels from Pick a Bagel. (Photo by The Village Sun)

Sarah Mills, who volunteers five shifts a week at the fridge and adjacent pantry, was plastic-wrapping fresh bagels around 8 p.m. that were donated by Pick a Bagel on E. 23rd St.

“They give us 100 bagels a day,” she said. “They’re all fresh, just made.”

Mills, who has a background in finance, said of the food-providing effort, “I love that it’s community driven.”

As Mills diligently worked, Lesly Carrasco pulled up with a wagon piled high with cupcakes, breakfast bars and cookies from Sweet Generation, on St. Mark’s Place, and promptly started stocking the fridge with them.

Sweet Generation is closing, but they didn’t want to just throw out their baked goods. (Photo by The Village Sun)

“We didn’t want to toss them,” she said of the sweet treats.

Carrasco, an intern turned employee, explained that the bakery is closing and they are moving to a larger space in Bushwick. The store has been on St. Mark’s six years.

The Village Sun first reported on the growing community fridge phenomenon in early December. The E. 12th St. fridge, specifically, has been spearheaded by Diane Hatz and the East Village Neighbors Facebook group. Hatz heads BOMA Grow USA and Whole Healthy Group, two organizations working to create a “regenerative agri-system and world” through food and farming.

A couple of men check out the offerings in the community fridge outside S’MAC. (Photo by The Village Sun)

“The whole concept of these community fridges is a social experiment — they have not been done before and no one knows if the concept will work long term,” she told The Village Sun back then. “I believe it is an amazing community effort, and its success or failure will depend on each and every one of us having compassion, patience and the understanding that we are all in this together — whether we are giving to the fridge or taking what we need from it.”

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