Last December, Motif wrote an article about the community fridges popping up around the state, including the Refri, the community refrigerator outside New Urban Arts (motifri.com/communityfridge).
Since the article, the Refri has remained open and available. I recently talked to a young woman carrying a giant box of food who said, “I read about the Refri on Instagram and I had some food, so I brought it,” as she stocked the fridge with half of a pantry full of soup, macaroni, and bread. A man asked me for a dollar, and when I asked him if he knew about the Refri, he replied, “You mean the best thing to ever happen to Providence?”
The contents of the refrigerator vary. Often, there is produce delivered by locals or people from Farm Fresh Rhode Island. Sometimes there are socks and scarves, bagels and breads, and maxi pads. Many evenings, there are complete meals prepared by Urban Greens, Refri’s neighbor.
Urban Greens is another group that has been doing a lot to help the community stay fed. Every Friday, some of the 2,834 members volunteer to prepare ingredients for the Culinary Academy, the YMCA’s youth cooking program. They prepare meals for up to 900 recipients of the Calvary Baptist Church. They assemble ingredients for “the little guys” whose parents pick up the ingredients for the YMCA Fun & Food club virtual cooking class. Says John Santos, general manager of Urban Greens, “There are so many volunteers to thank. It has been incredible.”