Organizers look to rebuild after EFBL community fridge is destroyed

The+community+fridge+lying+on+its+side.+Foam+insulation+appears+to+be+strewn+across+the+ground+and+food+packages+are+bust+open%2C+with+their+contents+scattered+on+the+grass.+A+black+fence+is+bent+and+lying+on+its+side.

Courtesy of Maia Robinson

The Evanston Fight for Black Lives community fridge. The fridge was destroyed in a car accident just days before it was set to open.

Delaney Nelson, Assistant City Editor

Just days before the Evanston Fight for Black Lives community fridge was set to open to the public, the fridge was destroyed in a car accident.

Fridge organizers are working with the community and raising funds to rebuild the fridge and continue their mutual aid efforts. 

“This is a setback, but it is not the end,” fridge organizers wrote in an Instagram post. “The mutual aid movement is about how WE TAKE CARE OF US. We are confident the Evanston community will rally around this project, the concept, the generous hosts @childcarenetworkofevanston, and we will see this through to share food and love and promote radical change.”

The fridge is intended to act as a form of mutual aid where all community members can take and add food.

EFBL organizer Maia Robinson said the fridge, located outside the Childcare Network of Evanston building at 1335 Dodge Ave, is “bludgeoned.” Carol Teske, executive director of CNE,  estimates the accident took place early Sunday morning. A police report has not yet been released.

As of Sunday morning, the fridge was lying on its side. Foam insulation was strewn across the ground and food packages were bust open, with their contents scattered on the grass. 

From Robinson and Teske’s knowledge, no one was hurt in the accident. After visiting the scene Sunday morning, they said the only objects hit were the CNE fence on Greenwood Street, the fence surrounding CNE’s outdoor air conditioning unit and the fridge. The accompanying small outdoor library, CNE building and the shelter built to protect the fridge from outdoor conditions were left untouched.

Evanston Fire Department and Evanston Police Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Teske said CNE’s outdoor yard is filled with shattered glass. The organization was planning to restart a family home visit educational program in its outdoor space soon, but the destruction has pushed back the program’s relaunch. 

Teske said she doesn’t want the community support surrounding the fridge to die down.

“The positive energy that this has produced is really affirming,” Teske said. “How touched we are that so many people have shown concern, and in a sad time in all of our lives, how amazing that is. We’re just really grateful.”

Organizers and community members spent months preparing the fridge, which was set to open this week. Local artist Ziana Pearson-Muller had recently finished painting the fridge, and Noam Hasak-Lowy finished building the shelter yesterday. EFBL volunteers laid a paver base days ago to prepare the space for the fridge’s opening, according to the Instagram post.

Going forward, Robinson said while she’s not sure what support looks like right now, organizers will work with the community to rebuild. She said Evanston Rebuilding Warehouse, which donated the original fridge, will look for another fridge this week. The organizers are raising funds for the new fridge through the organization’s Venmo, @efblives, she said. Teske said CNE is collecting donations through its website and plans to set up a separate fund for the refrigerator.

“Everyone wants to help in any way they can,” Robinson said. “It sucks that we have to take this step back … I appreciate everyone reaching out. I’m glad everyone cares about it as much as me. It’s really sad, but hopefully it will get better soon.”

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @delaneygnelson

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