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First 'community fridge' opens on west side of Salt Lake City

The first community fridge has been put out by the Salt Lake Community Mutual Aid group. (Adam Sotelo, KSL-TV)

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Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — Many people are still struggling to make ends meet, even with an economy that seems to be doing well.

Not everyone can afford to put food on the table every day and night, which is where food banks and pantries come in. But some people still slip through the cracks.

One group in Utah is trying to help fill that gap.

You can find all sorts of things in people's front yards. On the west side of Salt Lake City, you can even find a refrigerator — and it works.

"Oh, there's a lot more stuff in here than last time I looked," said Sarah Gronlund as she opened the front door. "Milk, juice, there's a whole frozen turkey in here."

Gronlund knows this refrigerator well.

It's in her front yard and uses her electricity, but it's not her refrigerator.

"I watched it materialize in my front yard over the course of a couple months and went, dang, look at that giant thing that's being built," she said.

Now that a little shed has been built to protect it, it's the first community fridge put out by the Salt Lake Community Mutual Aid group. It's for people, and families, who might need something to eat.

"I feel like there's just a lot of people where you need the system in order to help you get there," Gronlund said.

Anybody can pick something up or drop food off.

Canned goods work, too, and can be put on shelves in the shed built around the refrigerator.

It's located at 1151 N. 1500 West in Salt Lake City.

It's right where Gronlund lives, but she's not worried about people basically showing up outside her house.

"Oh no. I mean, I live next to a bus stop already," she said. "Salt Lake Mutual Aid, they individually talked to all my adjacent neighbors to make sure they would be OK with the extra foot traffic flow, and everyone was super supportive."

She said she understands there is a big need out there right now.

If doing her part to help means giving up a little bit of her front yard, well, that's easy to do.

"I don't really want to mow that spot of my land anyway," said Gronlund with a laugh. "I plan to xeriscape the front yard anyway, so this is step one."


Alex Cabrero


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