Community refrigerators at Cole Elementary School help families fight food insecurity

Vanderbilt medical student hoping to meet the need with community refrigerators
Posted at 9:44 PM, Jan 16, 2021

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — In a time when many families struggle with food insecurity, Vanderbilt University medical student Stephanie Hart wanted to find a way to help. That's why she brought the idea of community refrigerators to the mayor's office. "Which then talked to Community Achieves through Metro Nashville Public Schools and we are a Community Achieve school," said Cole Elementary School principal Chad Hedgepath.

As a Community Achieves school, Cole Elementary focuses on the needs of students beyond the classroom making it the perfect location for this new idea, according to Hedgepath. "It made perfect sense to us because we continually give out boxes of food but we also know that we weren't meeting the needs of dairy products and fruits and vegetables and meats."

The concept is simple: donors can drop off unopened items in the refrigerators behind the school for families to grab and go as they need.

"We encourage our families when you have a need come and get what you need, but then when you also have an opportunity to give back we want to encourage you to also place things inside the refrigerator that others can use too," said Hedgepath.

Donations can be dropped off at any time. At the moment people are asked not to take more than three items from the refrigerators.