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Local Church Introduces Peoria’s First Community Refrigerator

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) – From perishables to fresh produce, Peoria’s first community refrigerator was unveiled on Sunday.
“It was something we never really thought about doing before, we didn’t want to do a pantry,” said Ritchason.

The new refrigerator is attached to the Riverside Community Church off Monroe in downtown Peoria.
The senior pastor said the idea came about during the pandemic, filling a need within their parish.

“One of the things we saw even during that time was that there weren’t that many cans of soup and cereal. There were people who needed eggs, bread, milk and cheese, so I think they planted the seed of what the refrigerator has become today, ”said Ritchason.

Rebecca Gesell will take care of the operations of the new refrigerator. She said it’s meant to work with a take-what-you-need …

“You can come right in to certain foods to eat and then there’s no type of rules,” Gesell said.

And the state of mind leaves what you can. She said that to keep the fridge stocked, donations are needed.

“We’re looking for fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, and also sealed containers,” Gesell said.

Gesell said she was honored to be able to offer this to people who might be struggling like she once did.

“It was very personal for me because years ago I was a single mom and there were days when even though I was working full time I had weeks where maybe this check for payroll didn’t go that far or the refrigerator looked like a little bear and so if we had had something like that at that time it would have been such a blessing, ”said Gesell.

The Riverside Community Refrigerator will be open Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information, you can contact the church at (309) -676-7700.

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