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How “Town Fridge” Is Helping Feed Oakland’s Unhoused Population

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Credit: @townfridge

Housing and food insecurity is nothing new to the Bay Area. From the most densely populated urban corridors to idyllic suburban streets and far flung exurban outskirts, access to nutrients and shelter is increasingly harder to come by for our region’s ever growing homeless population. 

Desperate times call for innovative measures, and the City of Oakland has both desperation and innovation in strides. 

One of the best examples of Oakland’s radical approach can be found in the Town Fridge project. What is the Town Fridge project? It’s a collection of public fridges, placed strategically around Oakland (usually near homeless encampments) where people can donate or access food 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

There are times when I feel like giving up on the Bay Area entirely, but things like Town Fridges remind me that not everyone in the Bay is utterly full of shit. 

I discovered these fridges after my girlfriend had a large amount of uneaten food from a funeral/birthday party she attended (yes, you read that correctly) and quite honestly, we didn’t know what the fuck to do with it all. We literally had like 50 sandwiches. I’m fat, but I’m not 50 sandwiches fat. There was untold amounts of other shit too. I suggested we throw the food away because it would have inevitably gone bad. That’s when I found Town Fridges on Google. 

Town Fridge isn’t limited to just North and West Oakland, these things are truly all over. You can be pretty much anywhere in Oakland aside from the hills and not be more than a 10 minute drive from a fridge.

We dropped off the food at two spots: 48th and Shattuck, not far from MacArthur BART in North Oakland. This location was perfect because there was nothing in the fridge except for vegan cheese and Sunny Delight, and I don’t know about you, but the last thing I want to experience in my life is the sensation of washing down vegan cheese with Sunny D. The other spot we visited was a large encampment in West Oakland where San Pablo Avenue intersects W. Grand.  By the end of the night, the food that would have been thrown out ended up feeding people. 

Town Fridge isn’t limited to just North and West Oakland, these things are truly all over. You can be pretty much anywhere in Oakland aside from the hills and not be more than a 10 minute drive from a fridge. 

Town Fridge Locations:

Credit: @townfridge

Most Americans waste a shit ton of food. We’ve all done it, but we don’t have to. If you’re in Oakland and your eyes are bigger than your stomach, head down to a Town Fridge and help make someone’s life a little better. Food is meant to be digested in stomachs, not rotting in landfills. Remember that, ‘ya dicks. 

I hope to see more guerrilla-style food banks in Oakland. Well, I actually hope the problem of homelessness gets solved in America, but that likely won’t occur in my lifetime. 

So for now, we have the fridges. 

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Abraham Woodliff - Bay Area Memelord

Abraham Woodliff - Bay Area Memelord

Abraham Woodliff is a San Francisco-based writer, editor and digital content creator known for Bay Area Memes, a local meme page that has amassed nearly 200k followers. His work has appeared in SFGATE, The Bold Italic and of course, BrokeAssStuart.com. His book of short stories, personal essays and poetry entitled Don't Drown on Dry Ground will be available early 2022.

2 Comments

  1. Charlie Lenk
    January 18, 2022 at 11:28 am — Reply

    I believe the fridge formerly at 59th and Marshall is now at 59th and Vallejo, or in its immediate vicinity.

  2. Vanessa
    January 20, 2022 at 2:17 pm — Reply

    I work at the Tribune Tower, and the fridge at 13th and Franklin is no longer there.

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