The concept of the community fridge - sometimes called a 'freedge' - has been around for more than a decade, but it exploded during the pandemic as hunger spiked in the USA and worldwide. There are now about 200 of these community fridges in the United States, up from about 15 before the pandemic.
"What we're learning is when you do something like this, people will support it. People do have goodness and kindness and they will bring food." said Michelle Nelson, founder of Mama-Tee.com, which now runs 18 bright yellow fridges in Philaldelphia and has been inundated with requests to put more in place throughout the country. Nelson said the effort is part of the movement known as 'mutual aid', where people - even those struggling - want to help one another and have a stake in the project.