Allston community refrigerator looking for a new home after power outage – The Daily Free Press

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A woman chooses from the community pantry outside the Oliveira Deli Market in Brighton. KAITO AU / FREE DAILY PRESS STAFF

Volunteer organizers of the Community Refrigerator in Allston are looking for a new host for the refrigerator after the power cut at their original location, expelling them from the sport earlier this month.

A community refrigerator is a resource used to tackle food insecurity, where donated food is stored so that locals can take them away for free.

The Allston Refrigerator was previously hosted by the Chinese vegan Grasshopper restaurant on N. Beacon Street. Local activists launched the initiative there in October 2020.

“It really, really went from being a small group of local activists in the neighborhood at the start to a real community project,” said Megan Ramette, fridge volunteer and resident of Allston-Brighton. “Tons of people in the community have reached out to volunteer and do what they can.

Volunteers noticed that the temperature in the Allston refrigerator was rising and the food started to spoil over the course of a day or so during the week of May 10, volunteer David Rose said.

The refrigerator was moved later that evening to a volunteer’s basement and is functional. However, Rose said the volunteers weren’t able to save the “hundreds of dollars” of food in the refrigerator on time.

We just literally got hit on the sidewalk, ”he said.

It was not a planned move, according to an emailed statement written to the Daily Free Press by the Allston / Brighton family of community refrigerators. They wrote that the building had become a new owner and that the electricity was then cut in the refrigerator without warning, resulting in “the deterioration of a large quantity of food which could have fed our neighbors”.

Ramette and Rose said the landowner had never contacted refrigerator organizers or warned them directly that the power would be cut, and said the information was mostly relayed by surrounding businesses after the fact.

The building manager could not be reached for comment.

“We had no communication with them,” Ramette said. “We can’t even really begin to understand their motives for cutting power to the refrigerator.”

Placement of the refrigerator was initially done through an informal agreement with Grasshopper and did not involve any responsibility or maintenance on the part of the owner, Rose said.

They added the cost of electricity is covered by the organizers of Allston Fridge, and the volunteers helped by other means, such as shoveling the sidewalk of storefronts in winter.

Rose also said that the decentralized and popular nature of the refrigerator makes it difficult to take action against the landowner.

“TThe advantage of this is that it’s easy to get started, it’s very free-form, and we can usually start to meet specific needs regardless of which restaurants or store owners we work with ”, did he declare. “The downside, I guess, is if someone above that decides they’re not a fan, there’s not much recourse.”

Grasshopper owner’s son Hoai Nguyen Huy Nguyen said Grasshopper hosted the refrigerator to help those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic and the refrigerator did not appear to affect business in any way. is.

We thought the refrigerator was a good thing, ”Nguyen said. “I just feel bad that people who have become accustomed to the refrigerator no longer have access to it.”

After organizers affiliated with the Allston Refrigerator announced their eviction to the public, they were immediately contacted by restaurants and community groups looking to find a host.

The office of State Representative Kevin Honan has also personally contacted the group to offer assistance with the relocation.

“It feels like everyone in the Allston community is really supporting us in this pretty difficult and unexpected time,” said Ramette.

The volunteers received numerous messages of support and outrage at the situation via social media from local residents, businesses and community refrigerators nearby, Rose said.

“We are pushing against the grain, but a lot of people are pushing behind us, so it’s very encouraging,” they said.

Now focusing their resources on the relocation effort, Allston Fridge volunteers must consider access to public transportation and distance to other fridges when looking for a new home, said Pink.

Rose said the group are considering the Allston bass as potential refrigerator locations, potentially as far away as Packards Corner.

“We feel as motivated and provocative as ever to restart this,” he said. “This attitude was both reinforced and informed by the community response. There is a similar degree of motivation and challenge in the community.

Ramette highlighted how the removal of the refrigerator affects Allston residents who depend on the refrigerator, who they say often experience poverty, homelessness and food insecurity – issues exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Personally, I think it’s really terrible and really disheartening and doing a great disservice to all of our neighbors in need, who are the ones who are suffering because of this eviction from the fridge,” she said.

While the group searches for a new host for the fridge, area residents can still access the Brighton fridge on rue Faneuil and Cambridge Community Refrigerator on Church Street. Until then, volunteers will still be accepting food donations from the Brighton Refrigerator.

Rose said the community’s response makes the group optimistic that the Allston refrigerator will be collected and moved soon.

“It’s the temporary shutdown and I think a lot of people are on to that right away,” they said. “It was never an obituary.”

Rose said the experience, while unfortunate, could be a useful example in the event of future evictions.

“Maybe next time we can come back to that and say it’s not just 15, 20 or 30 activists trying to push this big ugly machine onto someone’s property,” he said. declared. “It’s the whole community behind it and they care. They were sad to see him go and they rallied to bring him back.





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