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The Hatch: A community fridge for those in need

By Nazeefa Ahmed, August 30 2022

The Hatch is a volunteer-run community organization that offers access to free food and essentials to Calgarians in need. They have a pantry outside of Kaffeeklatsch café in dowtown, and a fridge outside of the Rosscarrock Community Hall as of November 2021. 

In an interview with the Gauntlet, co-founder Amanda Gomez spoke about the origins of the organization, as well as their ongoing mission. 

“The intention of our group is to create community collaboration through mutual-aid projects.” said Gomez. “We were inspired by the Center Street fridge and also noticed how the pandemic was affecting all folks in terms of needing resources.”

In a general update posted on Feb. 10, The Hatch reported $1800 raised and 33 volunteers to replenish the two locations. Their surveys also get 198 respondents asking for relevant items, or showing appreciation for the cause. Gomez described what led to the success of the project, as well as how community fridges are more accessible to the public.

“With food banks, there is only a certain number of times that someone can access those resources. A community fridge project does not have anyone asking questions or requires that you qualify to use the services,” said Gomez. “Also, since [the fridge] is community-run and community-focused, folks have the opportunity to replenish the fridge with what is perhaps more culturally relevant or desired by the community.”

“The fridge empties out pretty quickly,” said Gomez. “The fridge is located downtown in a place where a lot of unhoused people may be. So, if we just stalked the fridge with a bunch of donations, it can empty in three hours during a busy day. We have received written and verbal feedback describing how it has helped them and their families.”

A health report by Statistics Canada released in December 2020 found that 14.6 per cent of Canadians experienced food insecurity within the month prior to the survey. The most affected groups were males, youth, households with many children and those unemployed due to the pandemic. Gomez described the general trend towards food insecurity as a global systems issue, rather than solely a Canadian one. 

“On a very basic level, the food scarcity we see says that things are not working the way they are right now,” she said. “Especially with food prices going up because supply is not meeting demand, workers and farmers are sick of being unable to afford food. [Food scarcity] is a big commentary on society at large. Our systems need to change to serve people.”

More information about The Hatch and their future events can be found on their Instagram page. 
Donations can be processed through their GoFundMe or Patreon profiles. Additionally, community members can drop off food to the fridge and pantry any time of the day.


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