The Friendly Fridge is Back

After a tumultuous spring, the Friendly Fridge has returned to serve the community. ZOE DEFAZIO/ THE QUADRANGLE

By Zoe DeFazio, Web Editor

After a tumultuous spring, the Friendly Fridge has returned to serve the community. After a hiatus to create a new designed system, the volunteers are determined to help those in need of food and goods.

The new location, situated on the side wall of El Gordo’s Smash & Chop, was made possible through their gracious support.

The original and first fridge was vandalized at the beginning of the year. The fridge was deemed unusable when an unknown vandal filled the fridge with paint. Local volunteers set up a donation link that quickly spread and the Friendly Fridge was able to receive enough money to repair the fridge and broaden their work.

Riverdale resident Jose Noriega generously devoted his time and energy to carefully research, design and construct a new shed for the Friendly Fridge. His goal was to create a thoughtful, sustainable and inclusive structure using sturdy and waterproof materials, complete with a rain collection roof and barrel, as well as solar paneling.

Selma Raven, co-founder of the Bronx Friendly Fridge, and the other volunteers don’t just stop with food, but they continue a work of philanthropy by taking measures to help all of the community, including Manhattan College students.

 Raven noted that she placed wood chips all along the fork in the road between Burger King and El Gordo’s Smash & Chop. Raven claims that the fork in the road had become riddled with syringes from intravenous drugs and broken glass from bottles and crack pipes. 

Now, an additional community fridge has been located not far from the original. 

Ra McCray, owner of Khesv Bvildr 508c1a Inc. located on West 238th Street shared her journey on creating a fridge of their own with the help and support of the Friendly Fridge.

“I think we have been very clear with our food initiative, from even hosting pop ups during the pandemic for food,” said McCray. “We noticed that our health and wellness industry doesn’t always bring food as a primary health solution, and my husband has been really really adamant about that from the beginning by incorporating microgreens here.”

 Khensv Bvildr 508c1a Inc. has a long history of bringing the Riverdale community together and helping those in need by providing resources such as microgreens, clothing, books, and herbal remedies.

“Our sisters from the friendly fridge dropped some food that was super delicious,” said McCray. “[The food was] well packaged, dated by all these amazing friends. So, it came from the idea of just really continuing to provide this and being community based. These things I feel like just happened naturally.”

Anitta Mohammed, a volunteer at the Friendly Fridge has been a part of their journey for a few years now. She has dedicated time and support to help the management of food waste and end local hunger. 

Mohammed began by volunteering at two fridges, the one located in Riverdale and another one located at 181 Street. 

“One day, the Lord said, ‘You know what, you’re gonna have to go to both places I didn’t want at first and here, especially here, they had the volunteers.’ And they said ‘Oh, there’s Anitta.’ They went right to the car, and they opened up the trunk and they started taking everything out there and that’s how this all started for me.”

Raven encourages MC students to not only donate, but to take as well. The food in the fridge is to help all of the community members.