Do you need help with food?
If you would like to receive a free food parcel for yourself or someone else and want to help Sustainable Merton reduce food waste, please visit us on WEDNESDAYS (16.30 - 18.30) and THURSDAYS (13.30 - 15.30) when food parcels will be handed out by your local Fridge Friends.
Morden Baptist Church, Crown Lane, Morden SM4 5BL (view on map)
Come to the car park at the back of Morden Baptist Church (entrance on Grasmere Avenue)
To request help with getting food from the Fridge, please complete our short form* (link below) and a member of our team will get back to you as soon as possible.
For more information about Merton's Community Fridge, please contact us at:
* Personal information shared will be used for purpose of providing you with food from Merton's Community Fridge
What is a Community Fridge?
Merton’s Community Fridge is a long-term initiative to address food poverty and waste in the borough. It's essentially a big fridge where fresh surplus food is donated and redistributed to the community. It’s all about sharing and giving. Our Community Fridge is the first in Merton, but we have some ‘cool’ neighbours in Brixton (the first community fridge in London) and Camberwell.
During this time of food crisis, Merton's Community Fridge is directly aiding those living in isolation and/or food poverty, made possible by the support of local volunteers and key partners, including Morden Baptist Church. Food is delivered to the Fridge from a central food hub run by Merton Community Transport and from local supermarkets, where it is packaged by our volunteer Fridge Friends, ready for collection.
How can you support Merton's Community Fridge?
The Fridge is extending its opening hours to meet the growing need in the community for fresh nutritious food and we need help from local businesses, residents and food growing initiatives to ensure that the Fridge is well stocked with good quality surplus food so that we can provide parcels to everyone who visits.
If you or your businesses would like to donate food to Merton's Community Fridge we would love to hear from you!
What do we need most? Vegetables, fruit, bakery items, meat, dairy
To keep up with the rising need for food at Merton's Community Fridge, we require more drivers to pick up surplus food from grocery stores. If you have a vehicle and are interested in helping us please sign up today!
Sign up to our mailing list to be the first to receive updates about Merton's Community Fridge, and stay connected with Sustainable Merton.
Why does Merton need a Community Fridge?
Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, food poverty in Merton was already on the rise.
Between 2015-17, the number of residents accessing local food banks increased by 33%.
At the same time, a huge amount of good food is going to waste, which is a big problem for communities and the planet.
We know that many businesses and residents would donate fresh food if they had the opportunity and a Community Fridge in Merton will provide this essential link that does not exist in the borough at present.
How does it work with other food initiatives?
Merton's Community Fridge will complement existing food banks, benefiting those most in need but also extending the offering to the wider community. It is a desired outcome of the work led by Sustainable Merton on Merton’s Food Poverty Action Plan which seeks to achieve a strong, coordinated and strategic partnership approach to tackle people’s inability to afford, or have access to, quality food for a healthy diet.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created a situation where many people in Merton are struggling to buy or access food. We call this food poverty and we summarise this as the inability of individuals and households to secure an adequate and nutritious diet. In the current circumstances we are using the following to describe food poverty:
A reduction in household income resulting in not enough money to buy sufficient food to feed yourself or your family
Experiencing personal crisis for reasons other than Covid-19 (e.g. debt, domestic violence) leading to an inability to access food
Delays or sanctions with social security benefits payments meaning you don’t have enough money to buy food
Health issues, disability or caring roles personally, or in the household
Lack of friends, family or social support to help buy or collect food
In Merton there has been an amazing community response to support people experiencing food poverty. Many organisations and individuals have put in place arrangements to distribute surplus or donated food to those in need and some are also crowdfunding to keep income coming in to buy more food.
Founded by Sustainable Merton, Merton’s Community Fridge, which opened in May 2020, is a long-term initiative to address food poverty and food waste in the borough. During this time of food insecurity, Merton’s Community Fridge is lending its name to the borough’s coordinated food poverty response to form ‘Merton’s Community Fridge Network’.
To assist this network of organisations in supporting their clients at a grassroots level, Merton Council and Merton College came together to establish a food distribution hub which operated from April to August 2020. Since that time, the distribution of food coming into the borough from Fareshare is now being managed by Merton Community Transport.
Along with Sustainable Merton, current partners distributing food include Wimbledon Guild, The Don’s Foodbank, Commonside Development Trust, and the Association for Polish Family PYZA. Wimbledon Foodbank also continues its food support to registered users.
How it works
Food is brought to the borough by the London Food Alliance (LFA) for redistribution across the borough to the five partners listed above by Merton Community Transport.
The LFA is a new partnership between London’s three biggest food redistribution charities (City Harvest, FareShare and The Felix Project), to provide an emergency response service for the capital during the coronavirus crisis. They can access and divert food to vulnerable people across the city and are delivering food to new London Borough Network hubs.
The food supply comes from surplus stock, donated by wholesalers, manufacturers, restaurants, supermarkets and other businesses. There is enough of this food to feed all of London – with 1.9 million tonnes of avoidable food waste generated by the UK food industry each year.
The coordination of Merton’s Community Fridge Network was led by Merton Council’s Public Health Department working with Adult Social Care, Environmental Health and Leisure, MVSC, SWL CCGs, and all the partner organisations involved in the food distribution (see below) and operates under the Council-led Volunteer Taskforce Steering Group. It is supported by the COVID-19 Food Insecurity Response Group, which is chaired by Public Health and has representatives from different organisations who support those living in food poverty.
From late September 2020 it is hoped that Sustainable Merton will continue to work with Commonside Development Trust, Wimbledon Guild and Polish Families to set up 4 Community Fridges in the borough that will further address the reduction in food waste, establish stronger links with local food growing places, promote social hubs linked to good, healthy food and support those who need a helping hand with sufficient food to have a nourishing diet.
Merton's Community Fridge Network is generously supported by
Share this page with friends and family and help us lead the way to fight food waste and reduce food poverty in our communities.
MORE WAYS TO SAVE & SHARE FOOD
Merton faith in action
Faith in Action Merton's mission is to help the local homeless by running a Drop-In to welcome the homeless and vulnerably housed.
They accept donations of fresh, in-date food for breakfasts and lunches.
olio - food sharing app
OLIO is on a mission to stop good food from going to waste. The Olio food sharing app connects people with their neighbours and local shops so that surplus food and other items can be shared, not thrown away.
grow, cook, eat
May Project Garden's 'Grow, Cook, Eat' programme works with communities experiencing poor diets and food poverty to make healthy living affordable and accessible through food growing and cooking sessions.
More on food
As part of Merton's Food Poverty Action Plan, Sustainable Merton aims to increase the use of growing spaces to connect communities and provide access to healthy, sustainable food.