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Utah economy

First “community refrigerator” opens on the west side of Salt Lake City

The first community refrigerator was installed by the Salt Lake Community Support Group. (Adam Sotelo, KSL-TV)

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SALT LAKE CITY – Many people are still struggling to make ends meet, even with an economy that appears to be doing well.

Not everyone can afford to put food on the table every day and night, that’s where food banks and pantries come in. But some people still fall through the cracks.

A group in Utah is trying to fill this gap.

You can find all kinds of stuff in people’s front yards. On the west side of Salt Lake City, you can even find a refrigerator – and it works.

“Oh, there’s a lot more going on here than the last time I looked,” Sarah Gronlund said as she opened the front door. “Milk, juice, there’s a whole frozen turkey here. “

Gronlund knows this refrigerator well.

He is in his yard and uses his electricity, but it is not his refrigerator.

“I watched it materialize in my backyard over the course of a few months and I went, dang, look at this giant thing that’s being built,” she said.

Now that a small shed has been built to protect it, it is the first community refrigerator set up by the Salt Lake community support group. It is for people, and families, who might need something to eat.

“I feel like there are just a lot of people where you need the system to help you get there,” Gronlund said.

Anyone can pick up anything or drop off food.

Canned foods also work and can be placed on shelves in the shed built around the refrigerator.

It is located at 1151 N. 1500 West in Salt Lake City.

It’s right where Gronlund lives, but she doesn’t mind people showing up outside her house.

“Oh no. I mean, I already live next to a bus stop,” she said. “Salt Lake Mutual Aid, they spoke to all of my adjacent neighbors one-on-one to make sure they would be okay with the additional foot traffic, and everyone was very supportive.”

She said she understands there is a great need there right now.

If doing your part to help means giving up a bit of your front yard, well, it’s easy to do.

“I don’t really want to mow that part of my field anyway,” Gronlund said with a laugh. “I plan to xeriscape the front yard anyway, so this is the first step.”

Pictures

Alex Cabrero

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