Local church introduces Peoria’s first community fridge

Local News

PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — From perishable foods to fresh produce, Peoria’s first community fridge was revealed on Sunday.
“It was something that we never really thought we would do before, we didn’t want to do a pantry,” said Ritchason.

The new fridge is attached to the Riverside Community Church off of Monroe in downtown Peoria.
The head pastor said the idea came into light during the pandemic, addressing a need inside their parish.

“One of the things that we saw even during that time is it wasn’t so much cans of soup and cereal. There were people that needed eggs and bread and milk and cheese and so that really I think planted the seed for what the fridge became today,” said Ritchason.

Rebecca Gesell will be handling operations at the new fridge. She said it’s intended to run with a take-what-you-need…

“You can come right in select item to eat and then there aren’t any type of rules to it,” said Gesell.

And leave-what-you-can mindset. She said in order to keep the fridge stocked donations are needed.

“We are looking for fresh fruits fresh vegetables and also sealed containers,” said Gesell.

Gesell said she’s honored to be able to give this to people who may be struggling like she once did.

“This was very personal for me because years ago I was a single mom and there were days where even though I was working full time I had weeks where maybe that paycheck just wasn’t going as far or the fridge looked a little bear and so if we had something like this at that time it would’ve been such a blessing,” said Gesell.

The Riverside Community Fridge will be open Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information, you can contact the church at (309)-676-7700.

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