Allerton Allies community fridge restored after vandalism incident

The Allerton Allies community fridge is stocked with fresh produce and bread every night.
Photo courtesy Allerton Allies

The Allerton Allies community fridge has been restored since it was vandalized by a group of teenagers on June 11, according to Jen Figueroa, a founder of Allerton Allies.

Donations to restore the fridge flooded in to a GoFundMe campaign following the incident, surpassing the organization’s goal of $1,500. Allerton Allies has now replaced the damaged fridge after a new one was donated to the organization. 

“Having that bad moment kind of trumped by this great outpouring of support that we had where all these people came forward and it really showed that the number of people who care about the fridge and love the fridge and want to support the fridge so far outweigh that small incident and that show of disrespect,” Figueroa said. 

Allerton Allies is a community organization founded by Allerton residents in 2020 in an effort to uplift the neighborhood with more resources during the COVID-19 pandemic. The community fridge is located in a food desert, a neighborhood that has limited access to affordable and nutritious food, according to the National Institute of Health. The Allerton Allies community fridge is one of twelve located in the Bronx. 

Unlike a food pantry, the community fridge is open 24 hours a day for residents and does not require an ID or membership. For the past four years, resident and local businessman Ignacio of Affinity Tires & Co has hosted the fridge while community members have shared the cost of electricity and garbage removal. The fridge is stocked with fresh produce and bread every night.

Figueroa said a group of teenagers were caught on security video destroying the fridge by throwing it to the ground on June 11. Damages included a broken door, cracked acrylic drawers, and shattered shelves. The organization asked the individuals who caused the damage to come forward to volunteer and learn about how the fridge operates as a community model of mutual aid.

Figueroa described the community support for the fridge as “a heartening moment.”  Allerton Allies is now looking to install a larger commercial fridge after it surpassed its fundraising goal on June 16, according to Figueroa.

“I just feel really hopeful for the fridge’s future. A lot of people have come forward to volunteer, and it seems like our ranks might actually grow. So this is a weird event that seemed really bad out in the face, but like might actually be good for us in the long run,” Figueroa said. “I think it kind of reminded people about why they care about it.”

For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes