A new community fridge decorates the outside of Kombucha Brava, at 717 Custer Street.
The fridge officially opened on Christmas Eve, and is the fourth of its kind in Evanston.
It bears the name “Sunrise fridge” due to its proximity to the lake, but the name also represents a new start, said co-manager of the fridge Carrie Jackson.
This new addition is a part of the Evanston Community Fridges movement, which organizer Maggie Quinn started after learning about Love Fridge Chicago, a Chicago-based initiative that installs fridges to combat food insecurity.
Quinn teamed up with the youth organization Evanston Fight for Black Lives to install the first community fridge in March 2021 outside of the Childcare Network of Evanston at 1335 Dodge Ave. The other two community fridges are located near Soul & Smoke at 1601 Payne St, and Peckish Pig at 623 W. Howard St.
Jackson said she has been a supporter of the Evanston Community Fridges movement since its start, and she regularly buys an extra bag of groceries while shopping to drop off at a nearby fridge.
Jackson wanted to be more involved with the movement, so with the announcement of the Sunrise fridge, she signed up to become one of its co-managers, she explained. As a co-manager, Jackson must check up on the fridge and make sure it is clean, stocked and working properly.
The newest fridge is managed by individual volunteers like Jackson, but it’s also supported by local businesses. Scott Simpson Design + Build, a North Shore home builder, constructed the wooden frame surrounding the fridge, and a local artist will paint the frame. The Evanston ReBuilding Warehouse set up and donated the fridge.
Kombucha Brava has also been helpful in installing the new fridge, said Jackson. “They are incredible people to work with,” she added. “They’re very passionate about connecting with the community.”
The Evanston Community Fridge movement relies on the support of the community, said Jackson. Every day, volunteers check on the fridges and community members donate food and supplies. Jackson said she has spoken with several restaurants in the area and encouraged owners to donate leftovers.
“We really want to make it a safe space for anyone to take or leave [food], no questions asked,” said Jackson. “Food is a human right and should be available to everyone.”