GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – Joannes Park on Green Bay’s east side has a new addition.

It’s a community fridge where neighbors help neighbors make sure that everybody has tasty and nutritious food to eat. It’s located near the entrance of the community policing center.

“We don’t have a full-service grocery store within one mile so we’re considered a food desert, so to be able to provide that fresh accessible food,” said Alyssa Proffitt who is the president of the Joannes Park Neighborhood Association.

Donors have stocked the fridge with sandwiches, fresh fruit, yogurt, water, and other food and drinks. Anybody can come to the fridge and take what they need, no questions asked.

“This is probably the fifth time I cried today just being able to physically see a project that’s been in the works for such a long time come to fruition,” said Proffitt. “We all go to the grocery stores we see the rise in our food prices so to connect some of those dots for families, it’s very emotional.”

Proffitt and Kelsey Lutzow, who is the vice president of the Joannes Park Neighborhood Association, are the brains behind the community fridge. Both women said they love their community and want to do everything they can to make it better.

They told Local Five News that seeing food prices rise during the pandemic causing more people to become food insecure was a major reason why they wanted to start the community fridge.

According to Feeding America, approximately 7.2 percent of people in Brown County are food insecure. This means they can’t afford to consistently have nutritious, complete meals.

Proffitt and Lutzow also said they hope the project can help reduce food waste. According to the United States Food and Drug Administration, between 30 and 40 percent of food is wasted in the United States.

“When we installed it yesterday and we saw it come to life and we saw people take from it for the first time it was so rewarding and so worth it,” said Lutzow.

The people that brought the fridge to Joannes Park said they spoke to the founders of the ‘Hope Fridge’ in Neenah and Oshkosh which Local Five News spotlighted in February 2022 to get tips on how to successfully run a community fridge. 

“It allows a small group of neighbors who are passionate about something to really give our time and energy and make a difference in our community,” said Lutzow.