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North Park Gets A 'Community Fridge' Helping People Who Need Food

The North Park Community Fridge is shown on September 1, 2020.
Matthew Bowler
The North Park Community Fridge is shown on September 1, 2020.

If you’re driving through the intersection of 30th and Lincoln in North Park, you might do a double take at a pop-up next to Hangers Cleaners. There sits an old refrigerator, painted mustard yellow, with shelves of dry goods and diapers next to it. A community fridge, to be more precise.

"I just wanted to include it into my own community,” said North Park resident Annie Lein.

North Park Gets A ‘Community Fridge’ Helping People Who Need Food
Listen to this story by John Carroll.

After seeing community fridges in other cities like LA and Oakland, Lein decided her own community of North Park needed that kind of help. She posted about it on Instagram and the idea took off.


“I made an Instagram and email account associated with the community fridge, and just 4 days, we have over a thousand followers and supporters,” said Lein.

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The fridge is next to the corner of Hangers Cleaners.

“It sounded like a nice idea,” said Gordon Shaw, who owns Hangers Cleaners. He said he was impressed with Lein and her friends when they asked him if they could use the space.

Shaw provides electricity for the fridge and he sees the whole thing as a win-win. In addition to helping folks in need, people are no longer sleeping there or using it as a bathroom.


“Perhaps several people would exert peer pressure and everybody would kind of keep it clean,” he said.

Video: North Park Gets A 'Community Fridge' Helping People Who Need Food

But not everything has gone smoothly. Annie Lein said she asked for the support of North Park Main Street, the group representing North Park businesses.

Executive Director Angela Landsberg told KPBS she wasn’t comfortable pledging that level of support just yet.

Landsberg didn’t want to go on camera, but she said she’s not against the idea per se, she just wants there to be safeguards in place to make sure the food that’s donated is safe.

Lien said there haven’t been any problems so far. Perhaps the honor system still works when it comes to neighbor helping neighbor.