As a result of the economic crisis brought on by the COVID-19 outbreak, the pre-existing social, economic and political inequalities that define our culture have been exacerbated, leading even more Americans to face food insecurity. The numbers have doubled in 2020, affecting as many as 23% of U.S. households—an estimated 54 million people, including 18 million children. In Los Angeles alone, an estimated 2 million people do not know where their next meal will come from—and that number is only set to increase. These overwhelming numbers show that food insecurity impacts our neighbors, friends, and family members—and thus, all of us. It’s an issue that hits closer to home than many realize.
To make it easier to get involved and to help bring awareness to how mutual aid can help, Miss Grass and MedMen are partnering for “12 Days of Giving” in support of Los Angeles Community Fridges. From December 14 through 26, 2020, customers can donate a non-perishable food item while they’re shopping for weed. As a thank you, they will receive $5 off their purchase of Miss Grass Minis at participating MedMen locations. All items donated will be distributed directly to the nearest LA Community Fridge location to ensure that support is going directly to the immediate community.
What is LA Community Fridges?
Los Angeles Community Fridges is a network of decentralized, independent refrigerators and pantries that provide food and vital supplies to communities through mutual aid. Their mission is to strengthen communities and redistribute existing resources by providing tools and frameworks to ensure people-supported, ongoing, equal access to healthy food. The way LA Community Fridges works is simple: they provide a scalable, repeatable framework to get refrigerators up and running for the communities that want them, so that they may work autonomously to support the needs at hand. LACF’s values are community, trust, equality, resource redistribution, and mutual aid.
What is mutual aid?
Mutual aid is not charity, it is a voluntary reciprocal exchange of resources and services for mutual benefit. Mutual aid projects are a form of political participation in which people take responsibility for caring for one another and changing political conditions.“The concept of mutual aid is quickly gaining mainstream recognition. Mutual aid is a form of solidarity-based support, in which communities unite against a common struggle, rather than leaving individuals to fend for themselves,” writes Amanda Arnold on The Cut. Read more there and check out LosAngelesForward.com for more resources.
“Mutual Aid is a practice and politics that emphasizes solidarity rather than charity. What does that mean? It means we recognize that our well-being, health and dignity are all bound up in each other. It means that we understand our survival depends on cooperation, not competition. In this particular moment, we see that our health is also dependent on other people’s health, and we can literally save each other’s lives. Rather than disengage and feel powerless, mutual aid allows us to plug in where we can make the most impact — locally.”
How can I help?
It’s easy. Just drop a non-perishable food item into the dedicated Miss Grass 12 Days of Giving Box at participating MedMen locations. As a thank you, you’ll receive $5 off your purchase. Limit 1 per customer, per day—however, donations throughout the 12 Days of Giving are appreciated and encouraging involvement beyond this dispensary program is the end goal. To help LA Community Fridges outside of the Miss Grass x MedMen program, drop off food items at any of the community fridges throughout the city. Find the nearest one to you using this handy map.
What kind of items are helpful?
Any kind of non-perishable food items are accepted and welcomed, including bottled water and beverages, canned goods, and dried pasta and rice. Perishable items such as meat, dairy, and fresh produce are not accepted in the Miss Grass x MedMen boxes but are accepted at free-standing community fridges. Alcohol and monetary donations are not accepted at any locations. Read more here.
How can I contribute outside of Los Angeles?
Mutual aid community fridge programs have been popping up across the country and world. Here’s a handy list to help you find one near you.
Chicago: The Love Fridge
Denver: Denver Community Fridge
Las Vegas: LV Town Fridge
Miami: Miami Community Fridge
Milwaukee: Milwaukee Community Fridge
Minneapolis: Community Fridge Mpls
New York City: A New World In Our Hearts
New Orleans: NoLa Community Fridges
Portland: Portland Free Fridge
San Diego: SD Community Fridge
San Francisco: San Francisco Community Fridge
Union City, NJ: Union City Fridge
Across the US: ChangeX
Across the US and Worldwide: Freedge
With love + bud,
*Additional reporting by Andrea Lorell.