Community fridge in downtown Hamilton has closed


Published January 9, 2023 at 3:45 pm

Downtown Hamilton no longer has a community fridge that helps people who are facing food insecurity.

Community Fridges HamOnt (CFH) posted over the weekend that its Beasley community fridge has been closed. While likely not intended to be a long-term solution, the aim of the project was to allow anyone to put food in and take food out without limit, with the hope of reducing the stigma from its use. Items collected typically include fresh produce, frozen goods, dried goods like rice and pasta, snacks, and personal care items including menstrual and dental hygiene products, as well as diapers.

On social media, CFH thanked Merit Brewing, which had hosted the community fridge since 2021, and said efforts to find a new spot had not panned out.

“As you may know, CFH has been seeking an alternate location for the past several months; we were hopeful to find one before winter, but as time carries on and challenges are exacerbated, we determined it was time to shut down now,” an Instagram post read. “Please know that we have not taken this decision lightly, and we continue to prioritize the nourishment & safety of all.”

Over the past several months, grocery prices in Canada have increased at their fastest rate in more than 40 years. In October, a survey by the Canadian Hub for Applied and Social Research at the University of Saskatchewan of more than 1,000 Canadians found just over 30 per cent of respondents said they were eating less healthy food because it was cheaper. And nearly 20% were also reducing meal sizes or skipping meals altogether in order to save money.

Volunteers at CFH also maintain fridges in the Crown Point (204 Ottawa St. N.) and Gilkson (44 Greendale Dr.) neighbourhoods. Those will continue to operate, and CFH hopes donations at those locations can be shared in the downtown core.

“We are hoping that, together as a community, we can continue supporting our Beasley neighbours over the winter, and find a new location by spring,” CFH added.

Ideal items for donating to a community fridge include:

  • Baby formula
  • Breakfast items
  • Canned goods (beans, pasta sauce, soup)
  • Cheese and eggs
  • Fresh and/or frozen fruits and vegetables
  • Frozen prepared meals
  • Meals from certified kitchens (which must be labelled with the kitchen name, allergens, ingredients and best-before date)
  • Non-alcoholic drinks (coffee, pop, juice)
  • Toiletries

The thanks-but-no-thanks items include raw meat or seafood, home-cooked meals or leftovers, ungraded eggs and rotted or wilted fruits and vegetables.


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— with files from The Canadian Press

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