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.
You may have found this site having seen the Botley community fridge on ITV or having heard about it on JackFM. This set of blogs talks about how the fridge was set up. Please click here to find out how the fridge works. We recently got a five star ranting from environmental health which we’re very proud of. Also consider ‘liking’ the community fridge’s Facebook page. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 07759 135811 if you want to know more.
The environmental health officer visited last Thursday, and was impressed with our paperwork and the daily cleaning of the fridge. Thank you so much to our excellent team of fridge cleaners!
She asked us to change a few things, notably to let the disinfectant spray sit for 5 minutes; to use paper towels to dry the fridge after cleaning; to check for pests daily; and to revise some bits of paperwork. I will post the revised volunteer information on the website.
We could still use one or two fridge users who are willing to talk on camera about why they use the fridge and how the experience has been for them so far. If you are interested, please email email@example.com or leave a message on 07759 135811.
At 9am today we took the “this is where the community fridge will be” sign off to reveal the “welcome to the Botley community fridge” sign. We had two bunches of bananas, some lovely herbs, two loaves of bread, three bags of potatoes, and quite a lot of non-perishables available, some of which went immediately. BBC Radio Oxford filmed the great event. Now do come and visit the fridge: put food in and/or take food out!