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How to use community fridges in Halifax, Dartmouth

Tips on donating and taking items home

3 min read
A person is standing in front of the Halifax Community Fridge with the right-hand side pantry door open. The left-hand side fridge door is closed and the words "community fridge Halifax" are visible. It is sunny outside.
caption The Halifax Community Fridge is located at 1491 Carlton Street outside the Glitter Bean Cafe.
Andrew Lam

With food prices continuing to rise, Halifax residents have seen community fridges appear in their communities over the past year as part of local efforts to address food insecurity.

These fridges are available 24-7 and provide a barrier-free source of food for people in need.

The fridge at 1491 Carlton St. in Halifax opened in January 2022 and is outside of the Glitter Bean Cafe on Spring Garden Rd.

The Dartmouth Community Fridge outside of Christ Church Parish Hall at 61 Dundas St. opened in May 2022.

Both have a fridge and pantry.

Here’s what you should know before using community fridges via Rhyan Schennery, spokesperson for the Halifax Community Fridge, and Nicole Fernandez, an organizer with Community Fridges Toronto.

If you want to donate to a community fridge


  • Donate fresh produce, vegetables and ingredients that are easy to use
    Schennery said fruit usually gets taken quickly at the Halifax fridge.

  • Keep the season and weather in mind
    Leafy greens with high water content can be great for the summer, but don’t always hold up well in cold temperatures, Fernandez said. Conversely, items with chocolate will melt in the summer.

  • Give easy-to-prepare and comforting food
    Frozen meals are popular at the Halifax fridge, Schennery said. Granola bars are another simple item.

  • Donate menstrual products
    Pads, tampons, cups are always needed year-round.

  • Keep an eye on and visit each fridge’s social media pages
    Different fridges may have different donation requirements, and these can be updated throughout the year.

  • Give whenever you want
    There are no set times for you to drop items. The fridge is open 24-7 and people will come and go. 


  • Drop off expired, open, leftover or old food
    “If you wouldn’t eat it, don’t donate it,” Schennery said. 

  • Give anything that could cause harm
    This includes items like razors, mouthwash, hand sanitizer and alcohol-based solutions.

  • Police who is taking from the fridge or how much
    “You never really know the whole story,” said Fernandez.

  • Leave safe-sex items like condoms
    Condoms need to be kept at room temperature.

  • Donate items held in cans or glass containers during the winter, or at least avoid it
    Canned goods and glass can freeze and break. If you do give these types of items, put it in the fridge and not the pantry to prevent it from freezing.

  • Give food you made, unless it’s from a commercial kitchen
    If you do prepare food, ensure every ingredient and the packaging date are clearly labeled. Food should be in food-safe — meaning plastic and tightly sealed — containers, said Schennery.
The Dartmouth Community Fridge has two doors. The left door, leading to the pantry, shows the painted words "Dartmouth cares." The right door, leading to the fridge, shows the words "take what you need, leave something if you can."
The pantry door of the Dartmouth Community Fridge is open, showing the shelves and notices inside. There is a loaf of bread and a box of potatoes visible. There is a note board on the door.

If you want to use a community fridge

  • Wear a mask and keep in mind you’re not the only one who uses it.
  • Keep the area around the fridge clean.
  • Donate if you are able to. “Bring a donation, take a donation,” Schennery suggested.  
  • “Know that you’re welcome here,” Fernandez said. “There’s a neighbourhood and a community that cares about (you).”

For people who want to learn how to start their own community fridge, the Loaded Ladle is hosting a free, virtual workshop on Feb. 23. 

Several baguettes are seen inside of the freezer portion of the Halifax Community Fridge.
The left-hand side fridge door of the Halifax Community Fridge shows the painted words "community fridge Halifax". It is sunny outside.

(Photos by Andrew Lam)

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About the author

Andrew Lam

Andrew Lam (they/she) is a Chinese and trans journalist interested in labour, LGBTQIA+, and political stories. They hope to leverage their data...

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