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Free Fridges + Pantries: Increasing Community Access to Food + Essential Items

How It All Started

In 2021, a group of local organizations and individuals began holding conversations to discuss the topic of food justice in our community. Free Community Fridges and Pantries quickly became a recurring subject. This idea is not one original to the group; in fact, other cities and countries have networks of Free Fridges that aim to provide access to critical resources such as food and essential items. After visiting Sunrise Project in Lawrence, Kansas and hearing of their success in hosting a free fridge and pantry, City Sprouts decided, “we should just do it”.

City Sprouts established a Little Free Pantry & Library in 2017 located at our main office near 40th and Seward. In a similar fashion, we started the “Porch Pantry”. You can now find a community fridge, storage shelf, and clothing rack on our front porch. With the help of community partners and neighbors, the fridge and pantry are stocked weekly. On the side of the fridge, visitors will find a green binder. Here we have collected other community resources (lists of local food pantries, shelters, etc.) and space to leave requests or feedback.

City Sprouts' Goal One of our goals in Spring and Summer 2022 is to expand the existing Little Free Pantry on 40th Street by building a weather-proof shelter for the fridge and adding additional space for pantry and essential items. This will minimize weather-related spoilage of food and improve accessibility.

Our Vision

The project’s vision is much broader than just ours. Like in other cities - we’d like to see a network of Free Fridges and Pantries in Omaha, collectively addressing the unique needs of neighboring communities by modeling mutual aid. In the meantime we invite neighbors and community members to visit our Pantry. “Take what you need, leave what you don’t” is our model. We encourage EVERYONE to utilize the Pantry in their own capacity.


Interested in Learning More?

Here are some additional resources/articles:


Feel free to reach out to Laura Simpson, City Sprouts’ Program and Distribution Manager.

1 Comment

James Brown
James Brown
Sep 19, 2022

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