The Claremont Neighborhood Association (CNA) is preparing to give back to the community this holiday season with a twist on its usual Toys for Tots drive.
Instead of having a holiday party and the toy drive, the CNA is asking for donations to the South End Community Fridge this year.
“We didn’t do much last year because of the pandemic,” CNA President Bob Barney told the Sun. “We’re trying to get back into social programs,” he said, as they recently held a Halloween event and some park cleanups.
After a former board member approached him with the idea of helping out the fridge, he thought it would be a great way for the organization to give back during the holidays.
The South End Fridge is located at 549 Columbus Ave., and the CNA will be there collecting donations on Sunday, December 19 from 2:300-3:30pm and Wednesday, December 22 from 6:00 to 7:30pm. If there is inclement weather, the dates will be Monday, December 20 from 6:00 to 7:30pm and Thursday, December 23 from 6:00 to 7:30pm.
The fridge accepts perishable items such as fruits, vegetables, dairy items, and properly packaged and labeled prepared foods, but the CNA is asking for donations of more non-perishable items such as canned goods and other shelf-stable food products, as well as personal care products such as soap, toothpaste, menstrual products, and shampoo and conditioner.
The fridge does not accept, under any circumstances, opened or partially consumed foods, expired foods, prepared foods without proper labeling of ingredients and preparation/expiration dates, alcohol, or medicines.
“If it works well, we want to repeat it,” Barney said. He said in the past, the Toys for Tots dropoff was done in conjunction with other organizations like USES and Cradles to Crayons, but this is a “totally new venture.”
Barney added that “if we get more word out there about it, I’m hoping that it will result in more food drop-offs. I’m excited about it; it should be fun.”
Barney said that he’s planning on donating some canned goods and some liquid body soap and shampoo. “Whatever people have,” he said, would be appreciated, as would people considering picking up a few extra items to donate on their next grocery run if they are able.
He said that the fridge has been “used quite a lot,” and he’s “seen people there all times of the day and night,” both looking for food and dropping food off.
If folks are not able to make the dates that CNA will be at the fridge, they can always bring donations to the fridge at any other time, or reach out to Bob Barney at [email protected] or 617-875-0311, or Jen Kimball of the South End Fridge at [email protected] to arrange a pickup before December 24.