'Overwhelming support' for project bringing free fresh food to Norfolk residents
PUBLISHED: 12:10 21 January 2019
A project to tackle food waste and unite a community through generosity has launched in a Norfolk town.
The Community Fridge, based at Our Lady and St Thomas of Canterbury Church on Norwich Road in Wymondham, received its first stock of landfill-destined goodies in December and in the seven weeks since has fed many locals struggling to make ends meet.
Orchestrated by Wymondham resident Arnie McConnell, the project is supported by Lidl Wymondham, which donates unsold produce five days a week.
Mr McConnell said one of the things that made the fridge unique was that it received an abundance of fresh food rather than tins and packets, including fresh fruit and vegetables, pastries, bread and croissants.
The fridge opens Saturday evenings and Sunday lunch times and Mr Connell said everyone was welcome to take part.
As well as the community fridge, Mr McConnell takes a selection of donated food to local primary schools to be offered as snacks for students and for parents to take home.
Far from just helping people access vital supplies, the Wymondham founder said the project was about breaking down the stigma around financial hardship.
Mr McConnell said: “The people we meet are always incredibly grateful but they don’t need to be because they shouldn’t be put in that position in the first place.
“People suffer real humiliation and loss of dignity as a result of financial hardship and as a society we need to stop viewing compassion and generosity as a sign of weakness.”
As well as the Community Fridge, the group runs a community kitchen which provides ‘pay what you can afford’ meals at the church for anyone wishing to join.
A core of 12 volunteers prepare the lunch, opening the doors of the Wymondham church between 11am and 2pm every Tuesday.
Mr McConnell said although he hoped the project would help those struggling to make ends meet, the real purpose of the weekly event was to bring people together on an equal plane.
He said: “The great thing about it is everyone is welcome so you could have a millionaire sitting next to someone without a home and those things become irrelevant.”