Auburndale, FL – For Marielys Camacho-Reyes, Founder and President of the “Compassionate Hearts United Foundation, Inc,” serving her community via a nonprofit organization was not a job she ever planned for but one that she dreamed of one day and decided to make it a reality the morning after.
For Tanika Latrice, Founder of the “Bruised, But Not Destroyed” nonprofit foundation, being an abuse survivor and experiencing many of life’s struggles led her to discover her passion for helping those in need.
What do these two Polk County women have in common? The answer is simple… an immense passion for serving those in need in their community.
On June 10, these two nonprofit Founders with completely different missions in life decided to unite forces and opened a community (free)dge in Auburndale, Florida, with the purpose of providing a safe place in which people in need of food can come and get the food items they need for free and without any judgment.
But, what exactly is a community (Free)dge, and why is it called (free)dge and not fridge?
According to Vox.com, “Community fridges (also known as community (free)dges) act as a grassroots response to a dire food insecurity crisis. Although official data is not yet available, Feeding America estimated that the number of food-insecure Americans almost doubled to 50 million people in 2020. Being food insecure means that they faced the uncertainty of having, or unable to acquire, enough food due to insufficient money or other resources.”
Via the “Auburndale Community (Free)dge,” located inside the New Purpose Thrift Store at 223 Main Street Auburndale, Florida, Marielys and Tanika are hoping to lessen the burden that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to families in the NE Polk County area. The fridge may not be able to help individuals and families fill their personal fridges on a monthly basis, but it will help them cover their immediate food needs.
Since opening, the “Auburndale Community (Free)dge” as it’s already known, has been able to provide support to close to 90 people, and the Founders’ goal is to be able to provide for more families in need, but “we can’t do it alone,” mentioned Marielys when we asked her about the impact that the fridge was having in the community.
What Marielys meant about that is that, even when both of these nonprofits are joining g forces to keep the fridge stock at all times, they still need support from the community and businesses in the area to help keep the fridge full of food and drinks to be able to provide for more families in need of food.
“Our community (free)dge has been a total success, and so many families have already benefited from it. Thanks to some small grants that we have received from Walmart, Publix, and Winn Dixie, we have been able to keep the (free)dge stocked and ready for families to come and get what they need, but we also need the community’s help so that we can support as many families in need as we can,” said Marielys.
The truth is that this community (free)dge initiative is an amazing idea, and we want to congratulate Marielys and Tanika for the job they are doing for their community. They exemplify what’s great not only about Polk County but about our nation in general. In other words… it’s people like them who make our community great.
If you or your business would like to be part of this amazing initiative, please visit www.chufinc.org/help_us_fill_the_community_fridge_and_pantry to see how you can provide support to the families that are benefiting from the services that the fridge is providing to them.
For more information about the Auburndale Community (Free)ge,” visit https://chufinc.org/_community_fridge__initiative