The Mott Haven Fridge Network, established in September 2020 at the height of the pandemic, wants to continue operating this summer – but needs a refrigerated truck to make it happen.
Daniel Zauderer, co-founder of the network, said their bulk produce pickups will not survive the heat of the summer season without a leased or donated refrigerated truck.
Mott Haven Fridge Network delivers fruits and vegetables gathered from the Hunts Point Market and delivers them to destinations that are “usually left out of the equation,” he said.
Without a refrigerated truck, Zauderer said, Mott Haven’s Fridge Network may have to put on indefinite pause its service to over 700 residents every weekend at more than 20 locations.
About 2 million people are dealing with food insecurity in New York City, according to Hunger Free America, and the Bronx remains the hungriest borough, with over 310,000 residents living in food-insecure households.
One in four Bronx residents experienced food insecurity and over one-third of Bronx children are food insecure, according to a study released by Hunger Free America last year.
While Mott Haven’s Fridge Network has raised over $300,000, Zauderer said the money is reserved for other program expenditures, and using the funds for a truck “really ties up the cash.” While the future for operations remains in limbo, Zauderer said he remains optimistic.
“I know that [halting the operations] will be disappointing for the communities that we serve; I also don’t think that will come to that,” he said. “I’m hopeful that we will be able to figure it out and then something will come to fruition.”