We celebrated the Botley community fridge’s first birthday today with cakes (including a magnificent rainbow cake), candles and balloons. It was the first time that some of the volunteers met each other. Three of the fridge users were there too. Here’s to many more!
Rowse/Valeo have just kindly donated £100 to Food for Charities, for use for the community fridge. Rowse is the purveyor of the excellent honey products that Food for Charities has been delivering, and Valeo makes those delicious chocolate sweets…
We are hoping to set up another community fridge, this one in Jericho at Aristotle House. If that goes ahead, then the £100 will go most of the way towards buying the fridge. If it doesn’t, then the £100 will pay for a year’s electricity for the Botley community fridge, plus non-perishables, once the ones that we currently have are used up.
We have a new fridge. I know that it looks remarkably like the old fridge, but it has an A+ energy rating and a good seal, and so should keep fridge temperatures more even and save energy. Thank you to the Coop for the donation that enabled us to buy the fridge. Next we’ll be getting shelving to fit next to the beautiful new fridge…
… and today we got about 20 packs of blueberries from Banbury Food for Charities, yum.
Please let me know if you can use the old fridge, which is serviceable if not quite as lovely as our new one.
The network of community fridges is launched today!
The Botley fridge is thriving. We got lots of food today courtesy of the Banbury Aldi and Morrisons which had so much bread and veg that we couldn’t get rid of it all in Banbury. Lucky we got a transparent bread box to put on top of the fridge, or it wouldn’t all have fit.
The Coop gave us £250 to spend on a new fridge, since the seal on the current one isn’t good. The new fridge is arriving on 8 August.
Today is the beginning of week 10 of the community fridge. I picked up a large tray of food from Tesco, and brought with me some tins of soup, chocolate sauce, and bread from last week that I had frozen. All of it went in one hour to ‘people in need’: one to a woman who also has a teenage daughter, and one to a woman with four people to feed. I’m delighted. The fridge is doing just what it’s supposed to do.
The fridge is getting food twice a week from Tesco/FareShare, and we hope to start getting deliveries from the Coop soon. The paperwork is all going well, although (unsurprisingly) a lot of the food that is taken isn’t recorded. It’s no real problem unless we have to recall an item. The volunteer team that keeps the fridge clean is wonderful.
The good news is that the fridge is catering to at least ten people ‘in need’, including rough sleepers, people on benefits, and people who have taken the bus just to get food from the fridge. Also Rev Sykes had the idea of including a board with information about where people can get other forms of assistance, plus some print-outs of the same. So far, four of the print-outs have been taken. This shows that, even in a relatively well-off area like West Oxford, people are struggling to get by.
Finally, we have been contacted by several other groups who are thinking of setting up community fridges. We have sent them all our health and safety information, have talked to them about what has worked (and what hasn’t) in Botley, and we wish them all the best with their fridges.