Social fridges with food for the needy spring up across the country
Food donation points have sprung up across the country to help those in need during the festive season.
Started in 2017 by Jan Piontek and his Give Help (Weź Pomóż) charity in Wrocław, the social fridges have now spread across the country, not only in the major cities but in locations such as Hrubieszów close to the Ukrainian boarder and on the north coast in towns such as Darłowo.
Piontek said: “Those we help are both the elderly, lonely people and families. There are loads of people who have now lost their jobs.
“They call us that they have three children and have nothing to eat so as well as the fridges we go out to make deliveries, sometimes until after midnight.
“Some people ask me where I get this energy when I am often hardly sleeping at all but it is the fact that I can help others that drives me.”
Other cities such as Łódź have not only adopted the idea and begun placing community fridges around the city but have created new charities to keep them running and delivering quality food to those in need.
Piotr Kowalski, President of Chleba Naszego, said: “We saw the idea in Wrocław, after discussions with the local organizer, Mr. Jan Piontek, we decided to organize something like this locally.
“We put the first fridge in the middle of June last year in Radogoszcz West. Currently, there are 17 of them. The newest one is in Zgierz.”
Each of the locations is slightly different and while some are just fridges other locations offer space for clothes and other items as well as food that doesn’t need refrigeration.
Some businesses provide stock that would go unused, while individuals can prepare dishes that they label or in typical Polish tradition, ‘słoiki’, food that can be stored in jars.
These fruits, vegetables and soups are often able to be stored for long periods making them perfect for donations.
According to the Institute of Environmental Protection - National Research Institute, at the beginning of December 4.8 million tons of food was wasted in Poland.
Dorota Bonzel from the Spółdzielnia Foundation said: “It is enough to realize that when we throw away food products, it is like throwing money into a waste bin.
“If there are dumplings from the Christmas Eve dinner and we know that the next day no one will want them, let's go for an evening walk and leave these dumplings in the fridge.
“Perhaps there is someone next to us who cannot afford them and will be happy to see them.”