Reading Public Library adds community food fridge at Southeast Branch
READING, Pa. - The newest addition to the Southeast Branch of the Reading Public Library isn't a page-turner and you won't need your library card to check it out.
A new community refrigerator and pantry full of fresh produce, shelf staples and even seasonings and sauces opened in the City of Reading.
"You can even see from a lot of the local food pantries, especially downtown, that there's a need, just an ongoing need for food. Especially for healthy food," said Ruby Mora with the Reading Public Library.
The refrigerator, which is located outside of the Reading Public Library branch at 1426 Perkiomen Avenue, came out of a coffee conversation that library assistant Ruby Mora had with a friend more than a year ago.
"The Reading Public Library was very receptive and worked with me to be able to apply for funding through the United Way in order to fund the project," explained Mora.
The refrigerator and pantry will be accessible to the public 24/7. The idea behind it is to take what you need and give what you can. Organizers are hoping to stock it weekly.
Paige West with The Food Trust in Reading helped get it stocked to start, and the fresh produce came from Alvernia University's student-run farm.
"At The Food Trust, we focus on nutrition education and ways to better balance our diet so this is an asset to our community," said West.
The non-profit will also do outreach to see if other organizations or businesses in the area can help keep it filled.
"We want to make sure it stays clean, so we're going to clean it out once a week just to see if there's anything expired, anything that needs to be replenished," added West.
This is the pilot project. Organizers say they are hoping to add more around the city in the future.
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By BRIAN MELLEY and JILL LAWLESS - Associated Press
By HILLEL ITALIE - AP National Writer
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