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Antioch school creates community refrigerator to help families experiencing food insecurity

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Posted at 5:50 AM, May 25, 2021

ANTIOCH, Tenn. (WTVF) — More than 35 million people experience hunger in the United States, and households with children are more likely to experience food insecurity.

Cole Elementary School in Antioch is trying to help their students and families by providing a community refrigerator.

“In January, we officially cut the ribbon on the two refrigerators and opened it up to our community. We truly just have an opportunity for the refrigerators to be open for community members to come in, get what they need,” Cole Elementary School Principal Chad Hedgepath said.

The community fridge is a partnership with Mayor John Cooper’s office, Metro Nashville Public Schools, and a medical student from Vanderbilt, according to Principal Hedgepath.

Hedgepath says anyone can stop by the fridge to pick up food.

The school tries to encourage the facility and staff to keep the fridge stocked with items, but they rely a lot on community members to keep it full, too.

A group of young girls from “My Best Friends Club” has been leading the charge to keep the fridge stocked with food. They recently made several trips to the store with their moms to buy eggs, milk, and frozen dinners.

The group’s founder, 10-year-old Maliah Barker, said it feels good to help others.

“It made me feel really good. I know it's like a nice thing to do, so that's why I'm really doing it,” Barker said.

Barker and her friends want to keep the community fridge stocked up, and they’re hoping more people pitch in to help.

Maliah Barker’s mom Alisha was thrilled to help her daughter give back.

“The moment I saw it when they opened it, I was like, 'this is amazing.' From then on, we had planned to help keep this operating because I don't want it to go away. The way to keep it here is to have the community come out and help. The school you know can't physically keep it stocked, all the time so it takes us as a community to do that,” My Best Friends Club co-founder, Alisha Barker said.

The school year is coming to an end, but the community fridge will stay open during the summer.

If you have some excess food or want to give back drop food off at the fridge. There are some rules; like only take three items and no canned food items in the fridge.

The community fridge is located behind the school’s office building at 5060 Colemont Dr, Antioch, TN 37013.