ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A lifeline for people dealing with food insecurity sits on a porch in St. Petersburg, Florida. The St. Pete Free Fridge is there for anyone who needs a bit of help and anyone who has something to give.
“You can treat it like your own fridge. Stop by when you need food and if you have extra food, leave it there,” said Lorrie McMurrian.
She is the steward for the St. Pete Free Fridge and explained the program has a lot of benefits.
“It provides access where a lot of other pantries do not…the fridge is typically open from dawn to dusk 7 days a week,” said McMurrian
She said people do not need to sign up or provide information and they can stay anonymous if they need to use the free fridge.
“It takes away any amount of shame that anyone might have when facing food insecurity,” said McMurrian
Community members and volunteers like Jeff Williams drop off food to fill the community fridge and, in turn, help others.
“I emptied the stuff I wasn’t going to use that might go to waste and brought it here,” said Williams.
McMurrian does not always know who is using the fridge, but recently, someone left a note on the fridge. That note said in part, “I haven’t eaten in three days. Thank you from the bottom of my soul,”
“It was really great to see that note. It gave me chills and it is really encouraging to everyone involved in the project,” said McMurrian.
Volunteers at the host site help keep everything organized and McMurrian said she stops by once a week to check on the food. She explained this type of program helps people dealing with food insecurity all around the country.
“Literally anyone can start a fridge anywhere that is necessary. It is really about the community coming together and helping each other,” said McMurrian.
If you are able to help, they always need food donations and you can also make monetary donations. This St. Pete Free Fridge is located at 8479 9th Street North in St. Petersburg, FL. McMurrian said they are also looking for a host location in downtown St. Pete.