BALTIMORE (WJZ) – Food pantries have played an important role during the pandemic in ensuring people have access to basic needs. Now there is a new initiative to provide the people here in Baltimore with the necessities.
It has grown in prominence in cities like New York and Los Angeles, so two college students decided to bring it to Baltimore. You can take what you need, leave what you can, and help your neighbors.
"It's a mutual benefit. You could also say it's like a self-serve pantry," said Clara Leverenz, co-founder of Baltimore Community Fridge.
It's called the Baltimore Community Fridge. It's stocked with fresh produce, groceries, and even toiletries. Unlike a traditional pantry, it is accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
"We are trying to find ways in which the community can be promoted outside of this model, whether it is mutual help or just the support of your neighbors," said Leverenz.
It's a concept that was brought to Baltimore by students Clara Levrenz and Abbey Franklin after seeing them pop up in places like Los Angeles and New York City.
"I just thought this community had the power to bring it to life and keep it going," said co-founder Abbey Franklin.
But before that could be brought to life, they had to find a place.
"Obviously it is very difficult to say that we want something outside of your building that is open around the clock. Whoever wants to come can come," said Leverenz.
Fortunately, they found a spot next to Hidden Harvest Farms in the Greenmount West neighborhood. Now a team of volunteers keeps things clean, stocked and running.
“As Clara likes to say, the response was overwhelming in a good way. People are so excited about it, ”said Franklin.
Because it is a way to give back or get help in a small, unobtrusive way.
Now that fridge is in the Greenmount West neighborhood, but it's growing in popularity with people hoping to open it across town.
You can check them out here.