27 Jun 2017

Free food initiative aims to brighten quake-hit suburb

8:10 pm on 27 June 2017

New Brighton was hit hard by the Christchurch earthquakes, with roads that still have not been fixed and high rates of poverty.

One local trying to turn things around has today opened a community fridge, the first of its kind in Christchurch, where anyone can pick up food for free.

Trudy Burrows at the community fridge in New Brighton which she founded.

Trudy Burrows at the community fridge in New Brighton which she founded. Photo: RNZ / Logan Church

Inside an inconspicuous garden shed, a fridge and set of shelves was stocked with food donated by locals, cafes and the nearby supermarket to be given away to anyone who needed a helping hand.

Founder Trudy Burrows said the new community fridge addressed several problems in the community.

"I'm passionate about feeding the hungry and I have become more aware of how much excess food there is around," she said.

Ms Burrows was knocking on doors this month at the town's cafes and supermarkets, asking for leftover food.

She said she got the idea after seeing an article about a similar set-up in Auckland several years ago.

"Initially it was supposed to just be a fridge, but then we ordered a shed, and we decided to do a pantry as well", she said.

Everything from canned food, yoghurt, bread and baby pet food had been donated.

Honey Cafe owner Sophie Bary said the cafe always had leftover food.

"I normally give it to my neighbours or my staff, but it is good we can put some food into the fridge", she said.

She said the town more such initiatives were needed to help New Brighton residents in need.

Ms Burrows had funded most of the work so far herself, but had approached her local community board for funding.

A Give-a-little page has also been set up to help meet the ongoing costs of running the fridge.

Ms Burrows said she hoped the idea would catch on, and other community fridges would start to pop up in Christchurch.

The shed will be open between 7am and 7pm every day, and anyone can come and take food if they need it.

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