'Community refrigerators' help feed anyone in need in Jersey City

If you happen to walk along Delaware Avenue in Jersey City, you will come across a community refrigerator, filled with free food for anyone in need.

Tatiana Smith is the woman behind the idea. She set up the fridge right outside of her home, hooking it up to her own electricity after noticing that the group “In Our Hearts,” which she follows on social media, had set up a similar community fridge in Brooklyn.

“I was trying to get donations and get a free fridge, but I got tired of waiting so I bought it myself,” Smith said. “I saw fridges popping up all over the city and I thought, 'let me do one here.'”

Every time she goes to the supermarket, Smith spends $250 to help fill up the refrigerator three times a day. 

Smith says he counts on donations and says the community has been responsive.

A sign on the fridge says “take what you need, leave what you can.”

“I don’t think about who is going to steal, who is going to take extra,” Smith said. “I try to be compassionate, because you don’t know what people’s situation is.”

Smith says she’s seen an outpouring of support since she set up the fridge, with restaurants donating full meals. She says she plans on keeping the refrigerator running through the winter, saying the need will be ever greater once the eviction moratorium is lifted and unemployment benefits run out. 


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