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Community refrigerators helping reduce food insecurity in South Florida

28,000 meals provided in 3 months
Buddy System Fridges 2
Posted at 12:37 PM, Dec 30, 2020
and last updated 2021-01-01 18:41:44-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — You can call it a cool concept. A South Florida organization is using refrigerators to combat food insecurity in local communities.

Isabella Lisboa has kept busy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"About 28 volunteers and 33 buddies we helped along the way," Lisboa said.

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"I was able to get about three different families, and you help them out. They were so nice," Lisboa said.

It’s called the Buddy System, a non-profit that began in Miami that focuses on food insecurity. Lisboa then helped spread the efforts to West Palm Beach.

Buddy System Fridges
The non-profit started in Miami then spread to West Palm Beach, helping to reduce food insecurity.

"My buddy, he would cut the labels off the product that he wants, and he would put them on different papers and say the quantity he wanted and different stuff like that," Lisboa said.

"We started with a real emphasis on food access," said Eric Trope, the COO of Buddy System MIA. "Getting food to people that were homebound due to the virus and also getting food to people that were experiencing financial hardship."

Recently, the organization took it one step further, using refrigerators to feed a need.

"We place these refrigerators in food deserts, and we recycle food waste into these refrigerators," Trope said.

In three months, they have provided 28,000 meals.

Buddy System Fridges
The refrigerators are placed throughout the Miami area and designed by local artists.

Trope said thanks to their partnership with Buchanan Whiskey, on March 1 they will have 10 fridges throughout the Miami area, all designed by local artists.

"Anyone can put food in. Anyone can take food out," Trope said.

He said they are hoping to expand to Palm Beach County and beyond.

"We are very willing and able and excited to extend this program to as far as it will go," Trope said.

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