The St. Pete Free Fridge now open outside of Central Avenue’s Bandit Coffee

The community project provides mutual aid for those in need.

click to enlarge The St. Pete Free Fridge now open outside of Central Avenue’s Bandit Coffee

St. Pete Free Fridge has opened its community refrigerator outside of Bandit Coffee in the Grand Central District of St. Petersburg.

Last summer in Tampa, the Free Fridge was only up for two days before a cop called in code enforcement who shut the project down. The fridge, which was unplugged and out of use at the time, was not great at keeping things cold.

This time around, organizers got a new fridge and moved it to a spot covered in shade at the coffee shop, located at 2662 N. Central Ave. Volunteers worked for three weekends building an insulated shelter, which is also hurricane proof. 

Mutual aid gives Tampa Bay organizations and individuals more chances to improve the lives of their neighbors

In a chat with Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, co-organizer Avery Moore reminded do-gooders donating food to not just clean out their own fridges when looking for items to donate.

“It’s not a dump site,” Moore said, “We know people have good intentions, but be mindful of what you bring.”

And as much as you think the world needs to taste your bolognese, St. Pete Free Fridge is not looking for homemade items. Other no-nos include: raw meat and anything that is easily spoiled or expired. Nothing opened is allowed, and there’s absolutely no alcohol.

The Fridge, will, however, take fresh produce, eggs, oils, spices, drinks and pantry items for the shelf nearby.

Free Fridge volunteers are also in need of volunteers to help with upkeep by getting in the habit of stopping by before or after work. Helping is easy and includes things like tidying up the pantry and throwing out expired food.

The fridge is open roughly from dusk until dawn. There are no set times—volunteers do the openings and closings. Ideally, Moore would like it to stay open until 10 p.m. every night .

Moore, who works as a substitute teacher while going to school at St. Petersburg College, hopes people connect with each other about the project the same way folks who garden fruits and veggies connect.

The Free Fridge has only been open for a week-and-a-half this time around, but Moore is hoping they will last longer with this new set up.

You can sign up to volunteer here.

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About The Author

Stephanie Powers

Freelance contributor Stephanie Powers started her media career as an Editorial Assistant long ago when the Tampa Bay Times was still called the St. Petersburg Times. After stints in Chicago and Los Angeles, where she studied improvisation at Second City Hollywood, she came back to Tampa and stayed put.She soon...
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