Frequently Asked Questions
What is a community fridge?
A community fridge is a zero-barrier (no documentation required) free food source maintained and used by the community it serves.
What is NOFC? What does NOCF offer?
NOCF is a community effort that is 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 supported and sustained by you and your community. Through our network, we have been able to connect fridges to hosts, hosts to volunteers, volunteers to fridge needs, fridges needing artists, and fridges needing builders for shelter.
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 a positive 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.
Who runs NOCF? Where is the headquarters?
NOCF is run by the New Orleans community at large and anyone who wishes to be involved in taking care of the fridges. This website is a central information point for anyone who cares to be part of the effort. NOCF does not have a headquarters, a central location, or central leadership.
Who can take from a fridge?
Anyone in need of food for any reason may use any fridge as a resource at any time of the day. With that in mind, please be conscious of the needs of others. Do not take more than you need. Do not unreasonably disturb local residents.
Who can stock a fridge?
Anyone can stock a fridge at any time according to these CDC guidelines and the guidelines on this page.
You do not need to contact anyone before stocking a fridge.
If you have a question about how to stock a fridge, please click here.
What can the fridges be stocked with?
Fridges are always looking for :
- fresh produce in good condition
- pre-prepared meals (homemade or store-bought)
- unopened non-perishables & canned goods
- unopened drinks
Fridges DO NOT accept:
- raw meat of any kind
- eggs without dates
- rotten or otherwise dangerous foods
If a fridge is full or not functioning properly, please do not leave your fresh or non-perishable donation! Check out other fridge locations 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.
How often do fridges need to be stocked?
Food turnover rates are high and fridges are typically filled and emptied a number of times daily.
Is there a way to see when donations are dropped at a fridge or when a fridge is empty?
At this time, there is real-time online system to see the status of a fridge's contents.
We do have a Facebook page 'NOLA Fridges (NOCF) - Community' where community members can update when they fill a fridge, want to list a fridge's contents, or notice when a fridge needs some love. Posts in this group do not group are a guarantee of a fridge's status, but can act as a guide to what's available.
If a fridge has been reported as non-functional or missing, you can find which fridges are 'out of order' on the locations page.
Can I make homemade meals to share?
Yes! When doing so, please wear a mask and gloves while preparing meals, and adhere to CDC guidelines for safe food preparation and storage (http://cdc.gov/foodsafety). Additionally use a permanent marker or sticker to date when the food was prepared.
What about food handling and COVID-19 precautions? Is sharing homemade food with the public legal?
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 to the public, please see Louisiana Food Waste Policy and the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Act (http://www.usda.gov).
Who is responsible for keeping fridges clean?
Routine cleaning of NOCF fridges is a community effort that is taken on by anyone who wishes to participate.
I want to Volunteer. Who do I Contact?
Taking care of our fridges and community is a group effort. Feel free to get involved in ways that feel right to you.
I would like my organization to partner with NOCF. How can we do this?
NOCF is managed by the New Orleans community at large. As a community member, you are already our partner if you wish to be. Please fill out the contact form with ideas or donations.
I am a journalist and I would like to do an interview for a publication. Who do I contact?
NOCF is managed by the New Orleans community at large and does not have a designated spokesperson or press packet.
If you are interested in speaking with someone about the work that the NOCF community does, we suggest visiting any of our fridge locations on the chance that you may meet someone involved.
I am a student doing a class project / community service. Can someone sign my paperwork and/or supervise me?
NOCF is not an organization or non-profit, but rather a community effort and mutual-aid movement. We apologize, but are no representatives or managers to do this for you.
I visited a fridge to donate and/or get food and found it broken or missing. Who can I tell?
If you are a community member and you are aware of a fridge that needs maintenance, please use the contact form.
Members of my community are abusing the local fridge/fridge area. What can I do?
If you feel that someone is interacting with a fridge in a way that is not in line with the intentions of a community fridge as outlined here on the NOCF website, please be sure to check your biases first. Then, check in with your immediate local community to find solutions that address the root of your concern.
NOCF unequivocally does not support the intervention of law enforcement or aggressive policing of each other.
I want to start a new fridge in New Orleans. What do I need to do?
At this time, we are not able to help facilitate the initiation of a new fridges in the Greater New Orleans area. Please refer to our locations page for current fridge locations. If you're interested in getting involved with a current fridge, please see how here.
Can I host a fridge without NOCF?
Yes! NOCF is not necessary for you to take community care into your own hands. You are welcome to do your research on best practices and host a fridge independently. We can always add your fridge to the map.
I want to start a fridge in my own city elsewhere in the world. Does NOCF have a guide or advice?
The NOCF network is based off of successful community fridges in Los Angeles and New York City as well as our own ingenuity, adherence to local ordinances, and trial and error.
NOCF does not offer literature on how to start a community fridge collective in your city beyond what is stated in the FAQ here.
If you are interested in starting your own community fridge network, we recommend the following:
- thorough research on best practices and models for growing a network of community fridges
- thoughtfulness regarding your intentions for creating a fridge network
- detailed communication with the community where you plan to start a fridge network
- an open mindset free from judgement of those who may have different circumstances from your own
- an ability to do the work necessary to follow through with your plan and promises
Mashable also offers a nice guide - https://mashable.com/article/how-to-get-involved-community-fridge
I have a fridge to donate. Who do I contact?
Current fridges may need replacement from time to time. Please reach out via the contact page if you have a clean, working fridge that you'd like to donate. We also recommend visiting mutual aid Facebook pages and offering fridges there.
Can I donate money to NOCF?
Yes! The NOCF community 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, and operating costs, etc.
NOCF has been able to contract with and invest in BIPOC local technicians and artists to maintain and beautify the fridges and their shelters. NOCF also supports community chefs and has created a Community Shopper Program for people looking to shop for the fridges.
Cashapp Donations: $nolacommunityfridges
Donations are handled by several volunteer community members and 100% of all funds go towards fridge upkeep and programs.
I own a restaurant or grocery store and want to make regular food donations. Can you do pick ups?
Depends. NOCF works with several business that donate regularly. If you are a business that would like to donate food, please use the contact form to get in touch. We will try and match you with volunteers who can pick up food donations.
I have a question that's not answered here. How can I contact the NOCF community?
NOCF has a contact form linked at the top of this page.
Please use the contact form ONLY if you:
a) are reporting a missing or broken fridge
b) are a fridge host who needs help with repairs or other host matters
c) have a clean working fridge to donate
d) you are a grocery store or restaurant wanting to donate
e) you have other ideas or thoughts!
If the above situations do not apply to you, please do not fill out the contact form. NOCF is run by the New Orleans community and does not have designated leaders or representatives. If you have an unaddressed issue, it is suggested that you familiarize yourself with the community surrounding the fridge(s) you have questions about and address your concerns to those involved.