Malden’s First Community Fridge

The Malden Community Fridge is a new addition in Linden Square that was put up as a way to connect and give people a chance to help others.

Councillors Jadeane Sica and Craig Spadafora had the original idea to create a Malden Community Fridge. The first Community Fridge is located in Linden Square behind the bus stop at the corner of Lynn Street and Beach Street in the municipal lot. There is a parking lot the city owns and the Fridge is on the right side. 

In addition to that Community Fridge, two more are being added to the bike path currently that were purchased by Spadafora and Sica. The Teen Center is still working on painting both. The whole purpose of these Community Fridges are for residents to drop off food they do not need and pick up ingredients they do need. Sica noted that “there is no “limit” as to what or how much people can take. There is a motto on the side of the fridge that reads “take what you need and leave what you [do not].” 

This is a way to help the community and people who do not have money for food. Sica knows that a lot of people who need help “do not necessarily like to ask for it.” In order for people to get food or drop it off, it must be anything other than alcohol and home cooked meals meaning it must have a label from a food store. Due to COVID-19, this is mandatory under the board of Health to keep everyone safe. People do not have to fill out a form or give their name in order to take and/or leave food.

Photo via Mayor Christenson's Twitter page.

Spadafora expressed how “great” the Teen Center is doing in terms of painting the Community Fridges. The start of the whole Community Fridge idea started when Spadafora decided he wanted to put his old, unoccupied fridge to use. He later talked to many of the other council members and “threw” the idea out there. Once the pandemic started the idea was forgotten about and put to the side. 

Just a little while ago, Council C called Spadafora to tell him they had an idea for a location that the Community Fridge could reside at. Finding power for the Community Fridge outside was the “root of the challenge.” Council C offered to help him with this problem. They were able to fix this problem. Spadafora and Sica had talked about Malden creating a Community Fridge when they were reading an article about the fridges in Boston. 

Sica had a friend who worked for Katsiroubas Brothers Produce. This friend wrote to Sica to ask her if Malden had a Community Fridge. Sica responded by explaining that Malden did not have a Community Fridge, but this sparked her to do research about Community Fridges to learn more about them. For this reason, she joined the Community Fridge Facebook Group. This assisted Sica in knowing how to set a Community Fridge up. 

Katsiroubas Brothers has a website with all the Fridges they stock. This company delivers produce to Sica for the Malden Community Fridge and she orders more when she sees that the fridge is “twiddling down to nothing.” She explained that she would restock Friday and by Saturday everything was already “cleaned out.”

Photo via Mayor Christenson's Twitter page.

Meanwhile, ordering groceries for people online is also available. In this case, someone could go online and order 25 dollars worth of groceries for someone and it will be delivered to their house. This is the same thing as paying for someone's groceries. This could be food from Fruits and Veggies to store bought meals. Sica explained that 25 dollars goes “a long way.” In fact, twenty-five dollars will get you fifty dollars worth of groceries. More is better. 

Katsiroubas Brothers Produce took a picture of the Malden Fridge and posted it on the website to get the word out. Sica also took a photo of the Community Fridge and put it on the Malden Community Fridge Facebook page to tell people what they have in stock.

Since the start, the fridge has been doing “really great” according to Sica and Spadafora. They are very happy with how people have been treating the fridge and the area around it. At first, both were “worried” about litter surrounding the fridge and the fridge being “abused,” so they were surprised to see the fridge being used for what it is meant for. They only hope everything continues to go well with the fridge and the community using it. 

Mayor Gary Christenson expressed that “the impact of COVID-19 has brought food insecurity to the forefront,” but “the Community Fridge is yet another example of the community coming together to provide resources to address this critical issue.” 

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