NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Second-hand refrigerators are popping up on New York City sidewalks, and for many, they’re a very welcome sight.
When Tony Alvarez, manager of Club Deli Grocery, opens for the day, his first order of business is checking a pink-painted refrigerator out on the sidewalk. He feeds electricity from his Washington Heights store to the appliance, helping feed a community.
“They keep bringing food every day, all day long,“ said Alvarez in an interview with CBS2’s Dave Carlin.
“Take some, leave some” is spray-painted onto the fridge at Dongan Place and Broadway.
When a trio of community activists brought the idea to Alvarez at the end of June, he did not hesitate.
“I think it’s important because what we’re going through these days, you know,” Alvarez said.
Maritza Morales told CBS2 that she watches the fridge from her apartment window and it’s been heartwarming to see people taking only what they need.
“I see some people, they open and pick it out,” said Morales.
Alvarez says the most popular items are bread, milk and eggs. When items run low, which Alvarez says is rare, he makes sure to add some.
Another refrigerator with “free food” spray-painted onto the freezer door is on Broadway at West 242nd Street in Riverdale, the Bronx.
The fridges join more than a dozen spread across the city that are sponsored by different organizations. They find the refrigerators, then locate business owners willing to foot the power bill.
There is an emphasis on healthy foods, fruits and vegetables, which is important in neighborhoods where fast food tends to dominate.
Bronx resident Rick Bloomer donates despite being jobless.
“Whenever I walk by, I just drop a few things in and do what I can,” said Bloomer. “I just wanted to be part of it.”
Bloomer says that it feeds his soul to give his neighbors full stomachs, smiles and some peace of mind that their communities care.