BILLINGS - Kirks' Grocery partnered with "Eat. Share. Give." to provide a community fridge, accessible to all.
"I'm standing in front of our very first Eat .Share. Give. So this is a community fridge, where all people are welcome to get food regardless of their ability to pay," sai creator of Eat. Share. Give. Sarah Moyer.
The gallery downtown is known for being a location to host local artists, performers, and entrepreneurs.
"It goes along with a lot of things, I'm just trying to create a community and they saw that, and offered to come in here and keep this refrigerator stocked with free food. Just available to come into Kirks' Grocery anytime we're open which is Wednesday through Saturday, 1-7," Kirks' Grocery owner Shane Deleon said.
The fridge is stocked with ready to eat, nutritious meals, and a no questions asked policy.
First Congregational Church will house another fridge open to the public.
Riverstone Middle School will have one for students and parents.
"We've been talking with other schools to help add to their food pantries by providing refrigerated goods and ready made meals, and we know that there is often-times barriers for busy families who might get dry goods and items to prepare dinner or sack lunch for students who might not be in school right now or for whatever reason, no questions asked, if you need a meal, we're here for you," Anna Paige of Eat. Share. Give. said.
Organizers say it's a step toward combating an issue of food insecurity, which is a growing problem in our area.
"We were founded on the idea that everybody deserves access to nutritious meals, and it's regardless of your ability to pay. And also, we take a lot of pride in the food that we make through the for-profit side of our business, Project Lunch," Paige said.
Project Lunch, formerly catering, lost business throughout COVID, and transitioned to stepping up to facilitate sack lunches for families through the stay-at-home order.
"It was supported entirely by volunteers so we knew that the community was ready to support a pay-what you can restaurant," Paige said.
Now, the business model for Eat. Share. Give.: Grants, donations, volunteers, where everyone is welcome, and people are encouraged to pay it forward.
"So there's so many people experiencing food insecurity, and that's kind of why we're starting the non-profit also, is that we know that it's not going away, and we're not trying to take anything away from existing places that are providing great services with food, but we're creating is a place for community," Moyer said, "Our community is so divided, be it politics, or socio-economic factors, income, we are just, we don't have a lot of knowledge of how other people are living and I think that empathy is important. So i think that when you can bring people into a space where everyone is welcome here, you can start to build those bridges."
This will be downtown in the former Commons 1882 building, at 404 North 30th Street.
The creator, Sarah Moyer, received a commendation from Senator Steve Daines in recognition of her passion and commitment.
Her efforts were recognized in early February on the Senate floor.