REGINA -- Regina’s third community fridge opened in the Heritage neighbourhood on Wednesday morning.

The community fridge is a small structure housing free food in a fridge, freezer and pantry. The food is available to anyone who needs it, 24-hours a day. It is located at 1510 12th Avenue, in the alley next to Carmichael Outreach.

“There’s definitely food insecurity in Regina, like all across North America. People don’t have access to affordable food, to healthy food,” Sara Maria Daubisse, a volunteer with Regina Community Fridge 12th Avenue, said.

There are two other community fridges in Regina, one in the Cathedral neighbourhood and one in North Central. Daubisse said they are ‘filled and used every day.’

“Last night, I was at the Cathedral fridge. And, in the space of an hour, there was at least 20 people coming to get food. So, there’s definitely a need,” said Daubisse.

The spot on 12th Avenue was chosen because it’s a central, well-known location.

Erica Mthembu, who is with Heritage Helpers, said there is a need for a fridge in the Heritage neighbourhood.

“The existing fridges right now are all two kilometres apart, approximately,” said Mthembu. “That’s quite a long walk (to) carry your groceries if you don’t have a vehicle.”

Derek Wensley was one of the people who helped get the project going. He is a nursing student at the University of Saskatchewan, and was doing his community placement at the Newo Yotina Friendship Centre. It was there he said he noticed an increase in food insecurity during the pandemic.

“The Newo Yotina Friendship Centre partnered with Carmichael to host the community fridge here, and we found a bunch of community resources and businesses that were willing to donate,” Wensley said.

Element Construction designed and build the structure. Several other local companies also helped make the project a reality with donations.

Food and monetary donations are welcomed to keep the fridge going. Project organizers are also looking for volunteers to donate their time to daily cleaning shifts and donation pickups. To get involved, residents are asked to visit the project's website.