community fridge toronto

A neighbourhood depot for free food had to be shut down after somebody complained

community fridge has been removed by order of the city after they got a complaint about it.

"We asked where the complaint came from," says Matt Schachtebeck, owner of the vintage clothing cafe Coffee and Clothing, "but they only explained that it was a neighbour and gave no further details."

Community fridges have spread across Toronto, usually placed on the street in front of local businesses where they're used by locals in need, and replenished by others who have more than they need.

This isn't the first time a fridge has been removed: Another was removed because an officer ordered the landlord of a building hosting one to remove it, citing a bylaw meant for unused, discarded appliances.

Coffee and Clothing has hosted their fridge for almost a year now, after  owner Matt Schachtebeck saw the need for one and set it up.

"It was embraced by the community right away, and it was being filled and emptied at least a few times a day," Schachtebeck tells blogTO.

The bylaw officer that visited them told the shop that they'd be fined if it was not removed, so they took it down.

"For now, we were allowed to keep the pantry," he says, referring to the un-refrigerated food that's still available out front, "and that is still being used daily. We are also opening a second bigger location right around the corner this summer and we hope that we can do another community pantry at that location as well."

Lead photo by

Coffee and Clothing


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