Our most prominent in-school mutual aid program is our Collect and Repurpose Excess (CARE) program. In this program, we use a community fridge to collect breakfast and lunch items throughout the school day that students would throw out otherwise, and allow other students to take them instead. A community fridge is like a food pantry―it is a place where food is stored by and for the community. We want everyone to donate when they can and take from our fridge when they need some extra food!
How do we CARE?
Our program is run by operating our fridge on our school’s campus for the entire school day, five days a week. Volunteers check on the fridge multiple times a day to make sure that the items inside are safe to eat. A team of volunteers clean the fridge once a week to ensure the freshness of all of our food. We plan to eventually donate all excess, usable items that are in our fridge at the end of the week to an external community fridge (one that is not connected to Feeding Philly).
Why do we CARE?
We understand the importance of mutual aid in combating food insecurity and food waste. Mutual aid is a kind of community program in which there is no social divide between the person giving help and the person receiving help, because everyone does both. Mutual aid programs like CARE uplift communities by allowing everyone to feel equal as they get the resources they need to thrive.