Lorain Public Library System, El Centro de Servicios Sociales, Inc., and Lorain County Public Health partner to bring the first outdoor Freedge to northeast Ohio

Lorain:  Beginning Tuesday, Aug. 16, South Lorain residents in need will have free fresh fruits, vegetables and an assortment of non-perishables accessible to them 24/7 via a new Freedge.

The word Freedge is an amalgamation of free and refrigerator.

“Our Freedge is part of the global movement to place refrigerators in places in the community where anyone can access free food,” says Anastasia Diamond-Ortiz, LPLS Director. “Freedges are found in Africa, Asia, Europe and South America in addition to many here in the United States.”

This Freedge is located in a new glass-fronted shingled structure just outside the South Lorain Branch of the Lorain Public Library System at 2121 Homewood Drive.

The Freedge will be monitored and stocked as often as is needed by El Centro staff.

“The need is just so great in the community,” says Monica Snipes, Director of Youth Services and Project Director for 231Go Middle School Collaborative. “Families are facing new challenges every day. Our hope is to help alleviate this one.”

The partners agreed that access to these items 24/7, where community members can help themselves to what they need for their family without having to speak to anyone or ask for anything, was crucial.

“With the pandemic, inflation and other obstacles, we recognize that there are many people in our community finding themselves in an uncomfortable situation, perhaps for the first time ever in their lives, where they are not able to afford the basic necessities, and they are struggling with that realization,” says Diamond-Ortiz. “We want to be sensitive to that and provide what we can while preserving the integrity, dignity and respect that is deserved.”

While there is a plan in place to stock the Freedge, community members wanting to donate can please take their food items to either the South Lorain Branch or to the El Centro offices during regular business hours. Donors are asked to please not leave items at the Freedge as it is intended as a pick-up location only.