Introducing…

The SFU Community Free Fridge!

A safe, low-barrier and nonjudgmental way for people at SFU to access food.

Watch Co-op student Cierra Johal, past Project Assistant for the OCE Food Security program, discuss her involvement in the SFU Free Fridge. Thanks to Embark Sustainability for the interview and video.

What is it?

The SFU Community Free Fridge builds and enhances food security for the SFU community.

Based on similar programs in Canada and around the world, the Fridge is a safe, low-barrier and non-judgmental way for staff, students and faculty to support each other, to reduce waste, and to ensure everyone in our university community can feed themselves and their families.

How does it work?

If you need FOOD – come TAKE SOME.
If you have extra food to GIVE, please leave it in the fridge for someone else – THANKS!

The fridge works on the principle of “take something, leave something". You may have seen similar ideas like community free libraries or “take a penny, leave a penny” jars on store countertops – this is the same idea.

Who’s it for?

The fridge will be open for anyone who wants to take food from it or leave food in it. Donors can be individuals who bought too much, food services on campus who have extra that will be thrown away, or local grocers that have stock that cannot be sold for cosmetic reasons. By giving and taking, we are all playing a part in supporting each other and reducing food waste!

Where is the fridge?

The fridge has been moved from the first level of the Student Union Building (SUB) to the bottom floor of Maggie Benston Centre, room 50. (Opposite side to the entrance of Document Solutions Burnaby)

Maggie Benston Centre
Room 50
8888 University Drive
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, BC, V5A 1S6

When can we use it?

The fridge is stocked on Tuesday and Thursday by 1pm every week (except on National holidays). Items don't last long, so come early. 

If you're leaving food, remember to tag @burnabyfridge if you'd like to announce there are newly added items! 

Who is supporting this program? (And who’s keeping the fridge clean?)

There are several Community Fridge programs throughout Burnaby and Metro Vancouver, and each has a sponsor who provides the fridge with a location and available electricity and ensures that it is kept clean. The sponsors of SFU’s Community Free Fridge include: SFU’s Office of Community EngagementBurnaby Primary Care NetworkBurnaby Neighbourhood House, SFU Ancillary Services, Food MeshEmbark Sustainability, and Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS).

The fridge is cleaned and maintained daily by volunteers from SFU's Office of Community Engagement. If the fridge appears to require maintenance, please contact Tara Flynn by email: tara_flynn@sfu.ca.

Please practice responsible care and consideration for everyone's health and wellbeing when you use the fridge. Hand sanitizer is available at many locations throughout the SUB. 

What kinds of food can be left in the fridge?

Yes, please kindly leave:

  • Fresh produce
  • Dairy
  • Bread
  • Grab-and-Go foods
  • Pantry items (unopened canned, high-protein items such as fish, beans, lentils, and nut-butters)
  • Commercially-prepared meals (must be made in a commercial kitchen and labelled). If you feel inclined to buy an extra boxed and labelled lunch and pay it forward, the fridge will happily receive!

NO, we DO NOT accept:

  • Expired food
  • Rotting food
  • Home-cooked food
  • Opened packages of food
  • Leftovers
  • Clothing or housewares

Can we make meals for the fridge?

At this point we only accept food prepared in a licensed commercial kitchen by cooks with food handling certification. If your restaurant is preparing food, it should be labelled with all ingredients, the date it was prepared, and the name and contact information of your establishment. Items should be individually packaged and packaged well.

What do we do if we think someone is taking “too much food” or they don’t look like they need it?

The fridge operates according to a “take something, leave something” philosophy, providing access to healthy food (meals, produce, protein), no questions asked. We will not police who is taking the food or how much they are taking.

The fridge is an opportunity to practice compassion, inclusion and non-judgement. If you find yourself concerned about who you see using the fridge, take some time to consider all the possibilities you may not be aware of. Some people may have large families, or may be helping to distribute to neighbours in need. Others may be newly facing food insecurity. Everybody has a unique story, only a little of which is visible to folks they don’t know. And this fridge is for everybody.

How can I get involved?

Thanks for your interest! There are many ways you can be involved: you could add items for the fridge to your grocery list; you can volunteer to help us maintain and stock the fridge and you could gather friends or neighbours to encourage participation in filling the fridge!

If you have any further questions about SFU Community Free Fridge or if you would like to volunteer, please contact Tara Flynn (SFU Office of Community Engagement) at tara_flynn@sfu.ca.