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Need greater than ever as Summerside Community Fridge enters its second year


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SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. — The Summerside Neighborhood Fridge has been open for a 12 months and volunteers say the necessity is bigger than ever.

“I’ve bumped into those that have actually good jobs … they usually’re going hungry,” stated fridge board member Shareene Graham. “This manner, they’ll come right here, no one is aware of they’re coming, there’s no questions on how a lot cash you make, or any discrimination.”

In March, Graham joined the fridge’s board, hoping that her volunteer efforts would assist make a distinction within the metropolis.

“That is one thing that’s actually wanted,” she stated. “Since, COVID, we’ve had a serious financial system disaster. Persons are going hungry of their properties, individuals we by no means thought – the working class. They fall between the cracks in the case of the meals banks.”

Shareene Graham said that it's great to see the community still supporting the Summerside Community Fridge a year into the initiative. – Kristin Gardiner/SaltWire
Shareene Graham stated that it is nice to see the group nonetheless supporting the Summerside Neighborhood Fridge a 12 months into the initiative. – Kristin Gardiner/SaltWire

One other board member, Brent Schurman, had volunteered with the fridge because it began, serving to with groceries. When he noticed that they had been forming a board, he didn’t hesitate to step up for that, too.

“It’s fairly clear, simply by studying the paper and watching the information, how meals insecurity and the variety of homeless that we have now right here now in our society,” stated Schurman. “It’s actually a disgrace. Someone has to attempt to assist these individuals and feed them. We’re doing one of the best we will to fill a void.”


The thought for a group fridge in Summerside was born in spring 2022. Its founder, Johlene Clow, took inspiration from the same undertaking in Charlottetown.

Clow noticed there was a necessity and wished to do her half to assist out in Summerside. The purpose could be for anybody to drop off items for the fridge or pantry, for anybody in must anonymously take.

With assist from native volunteers and companies, the fridge was up and operating on the nook of Foundry and Granville streets early that November.

Duane MacDonald, owner of Callbecks’s Home Hardware, supplied the two fridges at the Summerside Community Fridge. – Kristin Gardiner/SaltWire
Duane MacDonald, proprietor of Callbecks’s Dwelling {Hardware}, provided the 2 fridges on the Summerside Neighborhood Fridge. – Kristin Gardiner/SaltWire

One supporter was Duane MacDonald, proprietor of Callbecks’s Dwelling {Hardware} – who donated the fridges in addition to some provides. The enterprise was approached early on within the fridge’s inception, and MacDonald was completely happy to help.

“Simply seeing it develop right here via the 12 months and the quantity of site visitors and folks saying it’s useful, I believe it’s been a very good addition to the group,” stated MacDonald. “And it’s in an important location the place individuals can get entry to it.”

Challenges of maintaining

Though the fridge has succeeded in serving to Summerside residents, it has not been with out its challenges. Meals typically leaves as shortly because it’s donated, with restricted assets to maintain up with demand.

“We had been fortunate sufficient to have a number of funding sources over the previous 12 months, which enabled us to purchase groceries, which is a step past what a group fridge is,” Schurman stated, including that they’d supplied over $39,000 price of groceries within the final 12 months.

“Sadly, that funding has dried up, so, now we will’t grocery store on daily basis like we used to.… We actually want the group to pitch in, clear out their pantries, clear out their freezers and contribute what they’ll to assist out.”

Brent Schurman, volunteer with the Summerside Community Fridge, said that the need for the service is greater now than it was a year ago, when the fridge first opened. – Kristin Gardiner/SaltWire
Brent Schurman, volunteer with the Summerside Neighborhood Fridge, stated that the necessity for the service is bigger now than it was a 12 months in the past, when the fridge first opened. – Kristin Gardiner/SaltWire

Schurman added that folks also can assist out via financial donations and encourages individuals to succeed in out to the Summerside Neighborhood Fridge Fb web page.

One other problem got here with the fireplace in mid-February, which shut down the fridge for practically two months After, the fridge was solely opened for restricted hours, between 8 a.m. and eight p.m. each day.

“That’s a one-time factor, I don’t assume we have to dwell on that,” stated Schurman. “It’s over, and I believe individuals wish to look positively and go ahead.”

In the end, each Schurman and Graham are thrilled to see that the group fridge remains to be energetic and that persons are nonetheless supporting it, one 12 months in.

“It’s been nice. It’s had its ups and downs like every group does,” stated Graham. “But it surely’s been nice. All of us pull collectively as a workforce, and it’s among the finest issues that, I really feel like, I’ve ever belonged to.”

To have a good time the one-year anniversary of the fridge, there shall be a gathering on the constructing on the afternoon of Nov. 12.

“All the general public are welcome to come back,” stated Schurman. “Have a hotdog and perhaps some cake.”

Kristin Gardiner is a reporter with SaltWire in Prince Edward Island. She will be reached by electronic mail at [email protected] and adopted on X @KristinGardiner.

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