Community fridges feed neighbors in need

Residents across Los Angeles are banding together to feed their neighbors through community fridges.
EAST HOLLYWOOD (KABC) -- Community fridges are popping up around Los Angeles.

They're a way to help people who are facing food insecurity and are also an opportunity for neighbors to give back to those in need.

The idea began in New York. After seeing such a positive response, local businesses in LA started to get involved in July.

Anyone who wants to help can find a fridge or contact LA Community Fridge for assistance.

To keep a fridge running, all it needs is a business to sponsor it by offering a place to plug it in and cover the electricity cost.

Community fridges most recently started in Boyle Heights and East Hollywood.

Boyle Heights resident Ismael Salazar first learned about fridges on Instagram and then partnered up with a friend, Day Hernandez, to make it happen.

"I went on Facebook marketplace and I found a free fridge. It was technically donated. We picked it up, we cleaned it, we washed it, we painted it," said Hernandez.

Hernandez and Salazar connected with the owner of Milpa Grille in Boyle Heights who offered to place it outside and plug it into her restaurant.

The owner says anyone is welcome to take food from the fridge at any time.

In East Hollywood, a fridge recently went up thanks to the efforts spearheaded by local chef Heleo Leyva. It's located outside Santa Monica Grocery Meat Market.

The community fridges help those in need that don't want to ask for help and those that don't live near a local food bank.

"Some of these people are not able to ask for help or they have language barriers," said Leyva.

If you want to donate to your local fridge, experts suggest dropping off items like fresh produce, pre-prepared meals and basics like milk and eggs.
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