BY THE VILLAGE SUN | Loisaida is gettin’ fridgin’ with it.
The new Loisaida CommUnity Fridge opened its doors on June 15 in front of Trinity Lower East Side Lutheran Parish at the corner of Ninth St. and Avenue B.
The fridge will be stocked by donations from community organizations, individuals and neighborhood restaurants. The fridge was donated by the 11th Street Workshop.
To donate food or volunteer click here.
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In a statement, the fridge’s organizers said, “Over the past few months, East Village and Lower East Side families have had an increased need for food assistance. Decades of racial injustice, economic disparity and related toxic stress, have traditionally resulted in Black and Brown residents being disproportionately impacted by food insecurity.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated low-income minority communities throughout the city, and the Lower East Side with its dense concentration of NYCHA housing, is no exception. The CommUnity fridge hopes to make healthy food available to neighbors in need in a dignified way.”
Cutting the ribbon to officially open the fridge was Frank Gonzalez, the owner of Loisaida Realty, a volunteer with Loisaida CommUnity Fridge and a leader of the East Village Independent Merchant Association (EVIMA) and the LES Business Alliance.
On hand at the grand opening were City Councilmember Carlina Rivera; Assemblymember Harvey Epstein; Alejandro Epifanio Torres, executive director of the Loisaida Center; Laura Sewell, executive director of the East Village Community Coalition; Abigail Ellman, director of planning and development at the Cooper Square Committee; Carlos “Chino” Garcia, executive director of CHARAS; Father Will Kroeze of Trinity Lutheran; community gardeners from La Plaza Cultural; leaders from the Ninth St. Block Association; volunteers and staff from Vision Urbana food pantry; volunteers and staff from the Lower Eastside Girls Club; and volunteers for Loisaida CommUnity Fridge.
Visíon Urbana, one of the groups supporting the Loisaida CommUnity fridge, has already been doing a lot of work in the neighborhood to combat food insecurity. To date, Vision Urbana has delivered more than 1.5 million pounds of fresh produce and pantry shelf-stable food exclusively to public-housing residents on the Lower East Side. The group was a pioneer of home-delivered pantry and continues to deliver to thousands of residents each week.