A Shanghai-based agency plans to launch nine more community fridges in Pudong by the end of this year.
They will add to the five existing shared fridges in Shanghai, all of them also run by Shanghai Oasis Public Service Development Center, a non-governmental organization (NGO).
The latest of the five opened last week in a community center on Xinhui Road in Putuo District. This is the city’s first vegetarian community fridge. In addition to products supplied by a food bank project operated by the NGO, the fridge also receives freshly made meals from the nearby Jade Buddha Temple.
The temple’s vegetarian food is renowned in the city. In addition to a vegetarian restaurant open to the public, it also has a canteen used by monks, staff and volunteers at the temple.
“Though we want to save food and avoid wasting, there is still some food left as every day the number of diners might vary,” said Liu Yueying, a temple volunteer, who is responsible for registration of the community fridge. “It’s good to have the fridge to help people in need.”
Food left over from temple meals is brought to the fridge. Food packs include rice and two vegetable dishes.
“Cooking is tiresome for elderly people like me,” Zhang Haiyun, 75, told Shanghai Daily. Zhang collected a meal pack from the fridge yesterday. “Our income has also declined after retirement. It is good to have such a fridge in the community.”
The temple hopes that as well as preventing food waste, the fridge will promote the idea of vegetarian food.
The project is co-operated by Shanghai Jue Qun Cultural and Educational Fund, a fund of the temple, Changshou Funds of Changshou subdistrict government and the NGO.
Another shared fridge, located in a community center on Puxiong Road, serves about 40 people daily, including local residents, maintenance workers and homeless people, said Li Ping, who works at the community center.
“I hope more companies can embrace the idea and share their extra food with the society to help those in need,” Li said.