3 Apr 2018

Christchurch community fridge feeds locals in need

From Afternoons with Jesse Mulligan, 1:27 pm on 3 April 2018

Trudy Burrows could never have imagined the width and depth of poverty she's seen face-to-face at her community fridge & pantry in the Christchurch suburb of New Brighton. 

Trudy Burrows

Trudy Burrows Photo: Supplied

Trudy got the idea of setting up a community fridge last year after reading about Auckland's community fridge.

Now 80 to 100 a day people visit the fridge, which resides in a shed on local church grounds.

About 95 percent are doing it tough on a daily basis, Trudy says.

"It's really opened my eyes to how poor the community is … For some, they might get one large bill – like a vet bill or a car bill – [and struggle to buy food] that week or that month. But for most of them, it's an ongoing need.

"We had one father there the other day. His little girl had just broken her glasses. He was like 'What am I going to do?'

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Photo: Community Fridge and Pantry New Brighton / Facebook

"When you actually see and talk to the people, hear their stories, it's heartbreaking."

Trudy receives fresh fruit and vegetables, bread, canned goods and baking goods from supermarkets, food rescue organisations and the public.

But while plenty of produce comes in over summer, the fridge runs low on fresh food as prices go up coming into winter. 

Trudy says a small amount of support from local businesses would enable her to buy things like potatoes in bulk and help keep people fed through the colder months.

"You always know if you can give someone potatoes and a loaf of bread and eggs, they've got a meal and they're going to be okay for that day."

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