Take what you need, leave what you can – that is the idea behind the concept known as the community fridge. They are a 24-hour free food resource offering everything from fresh produce to canned products for people in need, no questions asked.

Christal Gerrard, a caseworker at Kruzeniski House (Kruzer), along with youth Sarah* recently decided to help their neighbours by collecting non-perishables and donating them to one of the community fridges in the city.

“I was working with Sarah on some empathy skills and development and we were discussing how to help others in our neighbourhood. I asked her if she would like to help collect donations for the community fridge and how it may directly help someone in need in our area,” explained Christal. “She was very eager and willing to participate.”

Sarah made a poster for Kruzer to ask staff to make donations. After a week, the pair took the items collected and placed them in the fridge for their neighbours in need to access.

Sarah said she felt really good helping out and would like to continue to collect and make donations monthly if possible. Other youth at Kruzer have also expressed interest in wanting to help.

“I had good feelings because I did a good deed and there are people out there that don’t have any food and need food to survive,” she said.

Christal said it’s important for the kids to be involved in these projects because it shows how small acts of kindness can make a big difference, particularly now given the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There were people waiting for us to finish placing items in the fridge, and one gentleman thanked us for bringing the donations, which was a really nice result!”

It is also important to know how to ask for help if necessary, she added.

*name changed for privacy