Locals who are food insecure now have a place to go on the Siena campus for free fresh produce and prepared meals.
The College dedicated a Free Food Fridge – the 12th in the Capital Region – on March 23 with the support of Free Food Fridge Albany, a locally-based charity that serves as an anonymous and direct food access point to food insecure neighborhoods. Jammella Anderson is the founder and director, above with President Chris Gibson.
Getting the fridge purchased, decorated, stocked and open for business was a special project of Siena’s Student Senate. Decked out in signature green and gold, the fridge is located on the front porch of the St. Thomas More House at the corner of Route 9 and Fiddler’s Lane. It will provide easy and discreet access for those who need meal support, and it is conveniently located on a CDTA bus line. Meals such as stuffed peppers, chicken parm, and beef stew are packaged in single servings and family style.
“We instantly knew we wanted to contribute to this cause,” said Michael Simeone ’23, former Senate president. “The impact of this fridge will allow food insecure students, employees and local residents to have easy access to meals without stigma, and it will leave a lasting impact after we graduate.”
This is just the latest development in the ongoing partnership between Siena and Free Food Fridge. The College has already been packaging surplus dining hall food for FFF for the past year as part of its sustainability initiatives and Franciscan mission, and now one of their fridges is up and running right on our campus. Siena had been upcycling leftover food for three years prior to that.
Rachel Miller, senior director of dining services at Siena, said it will take a little while to determine the “rhythm” of the fridge: to see how often food needs to be restocked and which items are most popular.
“Many people might think there is no food insecurity in Loudonville or on our own campus, but it absolutely exists,” she said. “This is a powerful move for the Senate to help other students realize that their student government can do mighty things not only for the campus community, but off campus as well.”
Siena will reach out to the Town of Colonie offices, North Colonie Central School District, and area churches to encourage them to share news about the fridge’s availability with those who may need it.
Anyone in our community is welcome to help support the fridge, although please note actual food donations cannot be dropped off. Here are links to some ways you can help support this effort:
Stocking Support: freefoodfridgealbany.com/fridge-stocking-support
Monetary Support: freefoodfridgealbany.com/monetary-support
Community Shopping List: freefoodfridgealbany.com/community-shopping-list
The Evangelist stopped by to cover the fridge’s dedication.