Frequently Asked Questions
What can the fridges be stocked with?
Fridges are usually looking for fresh produce in good condition, pre-prepared meals, non-perishables, drinks and canned goods DAILY. Aside from raw meat, anything else you might like to contribute is welcome and encouraged as this fridge is also yours!
Although turnover rates for food are high, we are still requiring that all pre-prepared meals be dated as a means of keeping items in the fridge fresh and rotated accordingly. Eggs must be labeled with a date as per Louisiana food handling regulations.
If you are donating a homemade meal, we request that it was prepared under CDC guidelines, such as using disposable gloves and wearing a mask, in order to prevent the spread of diseases such as COVID-19.
As structures for the Community Fridges are being built, we ask that donors place non-perishable items there as a means of keeping space in the fridge organized and clear. Fridges are also accepting non-food donations such as hand sanitizer, PPE, cleaning supplies, sealed packages of toiletries, and even pet supplies.
If this fridge is full, please do not leave your fresh donation! Check our network to see if there is another fridge close by but also see if you can offer to an encampment or someone else that might need food in the city. If you can’t do this, please keep the food until a donation is needed.
Who can stock a fridge?
Anyone can stock a fridge at any time according to the guidelines above.
Who can take from a fridge?
Anyone in need of food for any reason may use a fridge as a resource at any time. With that in mind, please be conscious of the needs of others and do not take more than you need.
What about food handling and COVID-19 precautions?
We are sourcing hand sanitizer to provide next to every fridge that we encourage anyone dropping off or picking up food to use. We ask that anyone preparing meals to donate follow CDC guidelines, including wearing gloves and a mask during preparation. As of June 25, 2020, the CDC reported that the risk of contracting COVID19 from food you cook yourself or from handling or consuming food from a restaurant is very low. For more information about the legality of donating food, please see Louisiana Food Waste Policy.
What does NOCF offer?
NOCF assists in connecting the dots required to get a successful Community Fridge up and running. We have been building a network that we are excited to connect you to so that your Community Fridge can be consistently supported and sustained by you and your community. Through our network, we are able to connect fridges to hosts, hosts to volunteers, volunteers to fridge needs, fridges needing artists, and fridges needing builders for shelter. NOCF has received donations from the community as a way of providing assistance to folks that would like to be a part of the movement without the means to do so. Simply put, this offering back to our community looks like fridge purchases and repairs, supplies for powering and sheltering fridges, assistance in covering electricity bills, purchasing of hand sanitizer and dispensers, operating costs, etc. NOCF has recently begun to contract and invest in BIPOC local artists to beautify the fridges and their shelters as well as include and support the supplies for community chefs looking to make consistent bulk donations of prepared meals.
What does a Community Fridge in your neighborhood mean?
A Community Fridge in your neighborhood means that you and your neighbors are taking action in ways of supporting each other. If you are hungry or thirsty, there is an autonomous space in your neighborhood where you have direct access to the things you may need. If you have access to food, water, groceries, or money, it means that the same free space is available for you to directly make an impact for your community.
NOCF’s intention with Community Fridges is to normalize mutual aid and strengthen the bond created within community care; a fridge in your neighborhood brings you closer to your neighbor. NOCF unequivocally does not support the intervention of law enforcement or policing of each other. If you feel that someone is interacting with your fridge in a way that is not in line with the intentions, please be sure to check your biases first. Then, check in with your community to find solutions that address the root of your concern.
Can I host a fridge without NOCF?
Yes! NOCF is not necessary for you to take community care into your own hands. If you see a need and have the capacity to fill it, then we empower you to do so! NOCF is here to support you in any way that you would like. All of our materials and resources are free and easily accessible with no ties of affiliation required (although we do love a shout out!). NOCF will actively update all of the resources we offer to our communities so that what we know, you know! The work we do is grounded in supporting and empowering our communities by getting the power back into the hands of them.
Weather proofing and electricity?
Within New Orleans’ subtropical climate, NOCF has taken the initiative in building long standing structures around the fridges as a means of weather proofing. We strongly encourage that every Community Fridge be protected by a structure so that the fridge can safely provide free food year round. With the support of community funding, NOCF has the means to offer supplies and labor to any hosts that may not have access to either themselves. Our NOCF build team is made up of volunteers and is in the process of providing more detailed information about how to safely build your own structure.
What are the costs of hosting a fridge?
On average, it costs about $30 a month toward your electric bill. These costs are covered by the hosts, but if this is the only deterrent for you not to host a fridge, please reach out.
Do you have a PDF flyer I can download or print?
Yes, we do. Please visit our fridge locations page for a list of fridges in PDF format.
I have other questions that are not answered here, who can I contact?
Please reach out to us at our contact page.