Giving Back: Spreading the Love (Fridge)

 -  5 min read

88 Brand Partner’s annual Regifting project, a way for the agency and its staffers to give back to our community, continues its giving into the new year. As the pandemic has intensified food shortages and hunger in communities throughout Chicago, our efforts supporting the Love Fridge project are helping people put food on their tables.

The Love Fridge is a Chicago-based mutual aid initiative aimed at providing food for those in need in the most direct way possible. They have placed refrigerators throughout the city where people can take food when they need it. Period. Giving is just as simple. The fridges are community sustained; anyone is welcome to donate, stocking the fridge shelves with nutritious food for their neighbors. The Love Fridges are decorated by community artists, making them welcoming and removing the stigma of needing help.

Chicago radio station WBEZ recently profiled the Love Fridge project, outlining its impact on communities, people in need and those who choose to help. You can hear the original radio broadcast here.

As with all of our volunteer efforts, this project gives as much to us here at 88 as it does to those we are helping. If anything, working with the Love Fridge is doing this even more so—we are directly and immediately seeing the impact of what we’re doing. Some 88ers reflect on that here.

“I love Love Fridge. It’s an easy and immediately gratifying way to give back. We are living in tough times and the only way to make it through is to help one another. This is the perfect opportunity!”

—Andy Yamashiro

“The Love Fridge is being a great way to take direct action against food insecurity in Chicago. We hear of specific concerns that have come up in the community and can directly translate those needs into delivering food to the fridges.”

—Erica Pelletier

“I could barely get an item in the fridge fast enough without it immediately being taken out. It was exciting to see the positive reaction to what felt like such a simple action. Often, our actions to help take weeks or months to see come to fruition, but with the Love Fridge, it was instant.”

—Jessie Friesen

“The Love Fridge and its volunteers make a daily impact in underserved communities. Anyone can easily add some items to their weekly grocery basket and drop them off at one of the 20+ fridges, fulfilling someone’s basic need for nourishing food.”

—Elizabeth Paterson

“When I brought food to stock a fridge, a couple arrived as I did. Indicating the bags I’d brought, I said if they waited a moment, there would be more to choose from. They were so grateful. It made me feel grateful too, knowing I was helping these people then and there.”

—Terry Boyd

“It’s exciting to work with the Love Fridge and stock our local fridge. I’m ordering the food my team delivers, so it’s heartening to hear that during our first drop, quite a few people came up to the fridge and got food they needed. It’s a nice way to give back to our local community.”

—Taylor Mackey

“It’s sometimes difficult to understand the magnitude of hunger and food insecurity in our city. All of our lives have been disrupted this past year, so generosity is more important than ever. When you’re stocking a fridge, even if it helps just a handful of families, it makes a difference.”

—Emma Lally

At 88, we’re extending these volunteering efforts into the winter months ahead. If you’d like to give to a fridge near you, you can find the locations of the 20+ fridges and guidelines for what items are most needed at The Love Fridge.