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CO-OP CITY, the Bronx — As the nation grapples with the ongoing pandemic, residents around the five boroughs struggle to put food on their tables.

To combat the rising food insecurity problem in some of the most vulnerable communities, one organization is expanding its reach by opening another community fridge at the biggest cooperative apartment complex in New York: Co-Op City. 

Bronx resident Lorraine Beckford prays to put food on her family’s table.

“It was a hard year, a really hard year,” said Beckford. 

Beckford joined her neighbors this weekend to welcome a brand new community fridge.

This is the Mott Haven Food Network’s third fridge, where the motto “take what you need and leave what you can,” is a welcoming constant at a time of so much uncertainty. 

“We’re bringing food to places that people are historically lacking access to food in and it’s amazing to see it all come together and can only come together with people’s support,” Mott Haven Fridge Network co-founder, Dan Zauderer.

According to Zauderer, the Bronx is home to the biggest produce market in the world, but more than 1 in 4 of its residents are food insecure.

Since the global pandemic began last year, there have been over 21.5 million visits to New York City food pantries.

This publicly accessible fridge is filled with fresh produce and food from nearby supermarkets and restaurants; it works as a unique way to combat food insecurity. 

Sunday, a bountiful supply of bento boxes from Mama Sushi and empanadas from the Bronx’s very own Empanology found their way into the fridge. 

“Nothing makes people happier than warm food with love in their bellies so it’s what we like to do and see people enjoy our food,” Empanology owner Jason Alicea saic.

According to Mott Haven Food Network, a $1 donation rescues and delivers 21 pounds of produce.

If you’d like to contribute to any of the Mott Haven community fridges, contact them here.

“It’s so hard now in COVID and this eases the pressure a little so it’s great to have it here,” said Beckford.