Charleston Library community fridge program receives additional funding

The Charleston County Public Library has received a $10,000 grant for its Free and Fresh Community Fridge Program.
Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 4:18 AM EST|Updated: Jan. 19, 2023 at 8:10 AM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The Charleston County Public Library has received a $10,000 grant for its Free and Fresh Community Fridge Program.

The program distributes free fruits and vegetables at select libraries in areas of higher food insecurity and need, located at the Otranto Road Library, the Hollywood Library and John L. Dart Library, which is currently closed for renovations.

The S.C. Stingrays donated $5,260, which will be used to purchase produce for the two operational fridge programs. The Center for Rural and Primary Healthcare, in collaboration with the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control, also awarded CCPL a Mini-Grant for $5,839, which focuses on community-driven health engagement strategies via a public library.

Available for anyone to come and use the program, people can also leave fruits and vegetables for others. Kathleen Montgomery, CCPL Associate Director of Community Engagement, says the Free and Fresh Community Fridge Program is something that people can take advantage of if they need it.

“It’s a really vital resource for people who have trouble accessing affordable food. We’ve heard directly from the community the impact this has on their lives, on their health and on their bills,” Montgomery says. “It really has been a really positive program and we’ve been really grateful to see the impact.”

Since opening in 2021, about 60,000 pounds of produce were given out in the first year alone.

“It definitely impacts thousands of people and thousands of families. Whether they take an apple to eat while they’re doing their homework at the library, or whether they’re taking ingredients to bring home to make dinner,” Montgomery says. “We know that it really impacts a lot of people.”

Local organizations also donate to the fridge programs to promote food literacy across Charleston County. Including support and donations from CCPL’s partners:

  • Charleston Parks Conservancy
  • City of Charleston Farmer’s Markets
  • Fields to Families
  • Food Rescue US
  • Katie’s Krops
  • Stone Soup Collective
  • Vertical Roots

If you would like to help support this program, fresh fruits and vegetables can be dropped off at the St. Paul’s Hollywood or Otranto Road Library. Financial donations can be made via PayPal to the Charleston Public Library.