Cathedral Community Fridge keeps the community stocked 

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Community fridge or portal to another realm? CVAF_Regina

Long term goals to expand the fridge are in the making 

In the heart of Cathedral, right off of 13th Avenue on Cameron Street sits a small building. It is decorated with beautiful spray paint art, and if you look inside, it has a pantry, fridge, and freezer. This is the Cathedral Community Fridge, a lifeline for the people of the Cathedral neighbourhood. Here, food is donated for people in need, no strings attached, no charities involved. This fridge is simply the community at its best, making sure no neighbour goes hungry.  

I interviewed one of the organizers, Brianna, who is a strong advocate for mutual aid, community, and education.  

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
 
Tell me a bit about your affiliation with the fridge.

I initiated this Cathedral Community Fridge project. I am currently the head chef right now, I’m in the social media team, I do large pickups, and I help with the Now Hamper Program that we are starting.  

How did the fridge get started? 

We surveyed the area for a perfect spot to place the fridge, as it’s important to me that the fridge is somewhere accessible. I talked to the head pastor at the Cathedral Church, who gave us access to use their parking lot. When the Community Fridge first opened, we had a very simple operation with very small numbers because we didn’t have a lot of reach happening quite yet. So, I would say there is about a group of 10 or 20 of us that were making things happen throughout the beginning.
 
Was there a defining moment when you realized the Cathedral area needed a fridge, or was it more an aching need to be addressed? 

It was a calling to uphold my end of caring for my fellow human beings. My belief is very strong, that everybody deserves food, whether they’re rich or poor, able-bodied, disabled – it doesn’t matter. I think that food and other basic human needs shouldn’t be behind a paywall. I think that the best way to do that is to lead by example, by providing those resources for the community to take accountability and responsibility for the resources they need. To make sure they are able to figure ways to meet their own needs, so that it’s not coming from an external source and acting as a charity, which doesn’t work, because if it did work, we wouldn’t need it anymore. It inspired me.  
             
What key roles do volunteers play? What jobs do they do? Are you looking for more? 

The whole volunteer thing is interesting. I have some interesting thoughts that I don’t want to [share] because I feel like the term ‘volunteer’ disconnects them as far as calling people volunteers. I feel it’s kind of hard. I just think the community is what needs it, what needs the resource.  

They should be the ones doing the work to maintain it, because when you own something, you care a lot more about the longevity and survival of that resource versus when you’re renting something or just taking something. The volunteers basically function to maintain the fridge as it is, but also keep a close eye on the needs of the community as it grows and meet those needs as they happen. We have a really diverse skill set in our community where we’ve got construction workers, we have chefs, people that are interested in marketing, we have people that are interested in finances, we have people that are interested or already doing social work. We have all of these amazing diverse skills in this community, and all of these play a huge part in maintaining the fridge and how it functions.  

 
What can you say about food insecurity in Regina? How long has this been an issue? 

I think food insecurity in Regina has been an issue since colonization. The moment class division was introduced to society and wealth disparity was introduced to society, and feudalism really came in and took away the freedom of community. That’s when food insecurity really started. I think that food insecurity and any other insecurities related to basic human needs are very profitable for the government and for a lot of agencies, but that could come off as conspiratorial. I’ll stray from that. But I think food insecurity has existed for as long as money and class division has existed historically.

Speaking specifically, Regina, we’re in a unique position where leftist organizing and human liberation and revolutionary acts are very prominent to our history. […] Like two generations ago, if that, two or three generations ago now. But they remember what it feels like to fight for liberation. There’s still that flame, still burning, there’s still a bit of an ember there. I feel food insecurity obviously is a huge issue here, but I don’t feel that the fight is above our heads.  

 
What are your goals for the fridge in the future? What do you want the community to know? 

I would love to be able to secure a food safe facility where we can be making meals for people for free, and open a free restaurant or a free store. That’s been my goal since day one. I think now our community has become so strong and lively and connected that we are prepared to take the next step in addressing food insecurity in our city. I would really like to encourage the public and the community to consider an open mind when it comes to understanding human behavior.

Understanding what class division and wealth disparity is, understanding how trauma and the brain works, understanding how poverty affects people long term, and how PTSD is a real thing. If knowledge is power, we need to be putting power to the people. I think that the stronger we are together, the stronger we will be forever together. If people want to get involved, it’s super encouraged. The more that we can bring to the community, the better. There are tons of people within the community that already have existing strengths and knowledge and passions that are just waiting to have more people to share that with. If people want to get involved, we are 100 per cent open. Everything that we do is democratic and autonomous.  
             
What are the best ways people can help? What items is the fridge looking for right now? 

There are several ways people and students can help the fridge. I personally encourage a well-rounded support system, which doesn’t mean it’s all monetary. We encourage people to donate their time for tasks such as cleaning, or Flashfood pick-up, or even just following our Instagram or watching our website. Monetary-wise, dropping off food or donating money to our GoFundMe or our E-transfer are also great options as well. Diversity is important when addressing support, all of these are equally important.  

To learn more, visit cathedralcommunityfridge.com, or visit their Instagram at @reginacommunityfridgecathedral.

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