PEI

Non-profit group seeking volunteers for 'community fridge'

A non-profit organization on P.E.I. is helping to tackle food insecurity on the Island by setting up a "community fridge" in Charlottetown.

4Love4Care hopes to have fridge in place by end of July

Sandra Sunil and her brother, Samel, are planning to set up the community fridge in the parking lot of the Parkdale Sherwood Lions Club Bingo Hall in Charlottetown. (Shane Ross/CBC)

A non-profit organization on P.E.I. is helping to tackle food insecurity on the Island by setting up a "community fridge" in Charlottetown.

Siblings Sandra and Samel Sunil say they founded 4Love4Care as a way to help disadvantaged people. They have been providing monthly meals to those in need, including 300 meals last Christmas.

Their most recent project is a community fridge that will be set up in the parking lot of the Parkdale Sherwood Lions Club Bingo Hall on Valley Street next month.

Sandra Sunil said the community fridge is based on a "give-what-you-can, take-what-you-need approach" accessible to everyone with no questions asked.

"We wanted this project to reduce the stigmatization of food aid, increase a sense of community and increase access to food, as well."

Help from community

The community has responded well.

MacArthur's Appliances has donated two fridges with freezers, a carpentry class at Colonel Gray High School is building a shelter and pantry for the fridges, an electrician with Queens Electric is helping to connect the power, and the Lions club donated the space.

A fundraiser if planned for July to help with any expenses.

Anyone can donate items to the fridge. Sunil said the group is reaching out to restaurants, farmers and other food suppliers who are willing to help keep the fridges and pantry stocked.

They are also looking for more volunteers to check on the fridges throughout the day, and have been working with health officials on P.E.I. for guidelines on what types of food can be accepted. Sunil said she has sought advice from groups who run community fridges in other parts of Canada.

Public safety is definitely going to be considered and we'll monitor the fridge for any spoiled foods or half-eaten foods that's not consumable.— Sandra Sunil

"Public safety is definitely going to be considered and we'll monitor the fridge for any spoiled foods or half-eaten foods that's not consumable," Sunil said. 

"With what other projects are seeing across Canada, the food hasn't been staying as long in the fridge and the freezers, they're usually emptied two to three times a day at least, so I don't see that being too much of a problem." 

If the community fridge is a success in Charlottetown, they hope to expand to other parts of P.E.I.

Anyone who wants to become involved in the project can contact 4Love4Care on its Facebook page.

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