Harvard Square’s “Fridge in the Square”

Harvard Square Business Association (HSBA) and its members, Y2YTrinity Property Management and The Sinclair (a division of AEG Worldwide) in partnership with Cambridge Community Fridge, installed Harvard Square’s first ‘Fridge in the Square”. 

According to Denise Jillson, executive director of the HSBA, the fridge hut with a pantry cupboard was designed and built by Cambridge resident George Pereira with assistance from Al Salvia and Matthew Pereira. It was transported to its site at 52 Church Street by Trinity Property Management staff including John DiGiovanni, Danny Mehigan and Jose Piedra. 

The hut was re-assembled in place by George, the Trinity crew, and Sinclair staff including Josh Bhatti, Erick Jenson, Ben Gram and Jared Dobson. 

Jillson stated, “We were so pleased when Cameron Van Fossen of Y2Y and Josh Bhatti from the Sinclair reached out to ask us to join their efforts to bring this project to life. With the help of George Pereira and his team, as well as enthusiastic support from John DiGiovanni, who not only provided for transporting and assembling but also allocated space for the installation, this project came to fruition. 

We are also grateful to Harvard Square residents Cat Turco and Philip Borden for their generous contribution to this campaign. Their thoughtfulness allowed us to fill the fridge immediately, with enough funds remaining to stock it several more times! This project was truly a team effort.”    

Volunteer Evie Hartenstein explained, “‘Fridge in the Square’ is a mutual aid organization driven by the heightened levels of food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Massachusetts has seen unemployment rates as high as 17.4% and a 100% increase in demand from local food banks.”

Hartenstein further stated, “The fridge is operated by neighbors, for neighbors serving Harvard Square as part of a national network of community fridges. With the principle ‘take what you need, leave what you can’, we aim to redistribute resources within our community to those in need on a hyper-local scale. Our work is solidarity, not charity. All are welcome to contribute to and use the community fridge.”

In addition to Evie Hartenstein, volunteers from Cambridge Community Fridge include Sara Brande, Isabel Campbell-Gross and Hannah Milnes. Hartenstein said, “There are many other volunteers who have helped along the way as well. This really was a community-based project and it couldn’t have happened without us all working together.”

If you would like to volunteer, please go to Sign Up Genius. There is a link to a Google form that volunteers checking on the fridge can fill out. The checklist explains what to clean and what to look for, such as expiration dates and prohibited items like alcohol and raw meat.

To find out more about “Fridge in the Square”, please email cambridgecommunityfridge@gmail.com or find them on Instagram: @cambridgefridge.