Taylor Disco of HoGD sits down with Edie Meyer of East Village Neighbors, the group that runs East Village Community Fridge for our first interview in the series.

HoGD: Thank you for all you do in the community! How did you become involved with East Village Neighbors? What has your time been like since becoming involved?
EM: I connected with Diane Hatz who posted on Facebook that she was looking for help with this new project. My work slowed way down because of Covid, and I was happy to help. Getting involved has been amazing as it has given me an opportunity to help during this difficult time as well as connect with my community.
HoGD: East Village Neighbors was founded when the pandemic began. Can you touch on what that was like, working on the front lines? 
EM: It was both heartbreaking and heartwarming. Heartbreaking to see the devastation caused in NYC and my neighbors, heartwarming to see how many people in our community volunteered to help even when it was dangerous to do so.
HOGD: How has the East Village Neighbors Fridge helped to promote a sense of community? Any challenges in doing so?
EM: I think all of the volunteers have enjoyed connecting with the recipients and some of the other volunteers. Our main challenge was, after realizing how much food insecurity was among us, raising funds and helping to distribute food during such a scary and difficult time.
HoGD: Change Food, and Local restaurants helped launch the East Village Neighbors Fridge. Can you speak to that experience? What are some of your ideas for how organizations in New York can better come together to fight hunger and issues of adversity? 
EM: I think the community fridge movement is amazing. So much usable food that can be used to address hunger ends up in landfills. Having community fridges available throughout the city helps to make this food available to those who need it. Change Food is an amazing organization whose mission is to help bring healthy food to those in need so getting involved with community fridges made perfect sense for their mission.
HoGD: What improvements or resources do you feel your organization (or others) need in order to help propel organizational efforts further? 
EM: We currently have a team of amazing volunteers who run around our neighborhood collecting donations. It would be wonderful if there were more organizations that were formed to help fill these fridges with healthy nutritious food that was delivered on a regular basis. The need is so great that anything we put into the fridge and pantry gets snapped up almost immediately.
HoGD: What is some advice you’d give to others that want to help make a difference in their community? 
EM: There are so many wonderful Mutual Aid and charity organizations that always need help. Do a little research and I’m sure you will find a great place to help.
HoGD: What is something you feel others, whether it be New York or elsewhere, do not know or misunderstand about doing work in the community?
EM: I think people are worried about time commitments and don’t realize that even 30 minutes once a week, or even once every few weeks, can really be a big help!
HoGD: Change Food, and Local restaurants helped launch the East Village Neighbors Fridge. Can you speak to that experience? What are some of your ideas for how organizations in New York can better come together to fight hunger and issues of adversity?
EM: Our sponsoring restaurant S’MAC has been amazingly flexible, positive and accommodating. We could not have done this without their help. Everyone who works there has had a hand in the success of our fridge. Change Food has also been essential in the initial setup and organization of the project. Luckily once it got going the community has really driven it’s success.
HoGD: What improvements or resources do you feel your organization (or others) need in order to help propel organizational efforts further?
EM: We really just need more food to help meet the demand.

Check out East Village Neighbors on Facebook for more information!