Open Collective
Open Collective
Hope Fridge What's Update 2022
Published on December 21, 2022 by Tj Hobbs

What an eventful year it has been for Hope Fridge! Here’s what we accomplished in 2022. 

Our fridges were emptied and filled multiple times (often multiple times per day!) and we connected people in need in our communities directly with fresh food and brand new hygiene supplies every day, with no limits and no questions asked. In 2022 Hope Fridge partnered with Heroes of Oshkosh whose mission is to connect those in need with those wishing to give. We also partnered with Food Not Bombs, Diverse and Resilient, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin, and many other local organizations. We’re thankful for all of our community partners, volunteers, donors, recipients, and helpers! 

In February, Girl Scout Troop 2032 of Appleton planned, built, and donated a Hygiene Hutch as a new permanent expansion at our Neenah location. 

In April, we began our “Fill the Fridge” daily challenge via a virtual sign-up sheet on 

In May, Stuart’s Landscaping donated and installed a gorgeous brick pathway to our Neenah location and our community came together to give them the space needed to do their work by moving the fridge enclosure and Hygiene Hutch before and after the landscaping. 

In June, Hope Fridge hosted “Oshkosh Pride 2022 and Hope Fridge 1st Anniversary Community Cookout.” This event provided community, free food, and many free resources to LGBTQIA+ folks and allies of all ages. Yard games provided fun opportunities to make new friends. Children and young adults were given an opportunity to pick the music for a dance party. Guests were also given the opportunity to take the mic to share stories about their personal experiences. Multiple performers closed out this memorable event, including dancers, musicians, and aerialists! We’re looking forward to hosting Oshkosh Pride again in 2023. 

In July, we updated our OC “Projects” page so folks can now donate to their local or favorite fridge specifically. We expressed our outrage at the overturning of Roe v. Wade and we provided resources to support those protesting for our human right to an abortion. 

In August, we redistributed 40+ boxes of baby food at our BowenStreet Repeats location. In September, we began offering free “Make A Plan” reproductive health kits. These kits include one dose of Plan B, six condoms, and one pregnancy test. 

In December, we added steel bars to our Wagner Market location to increase stability. We also strengthened our existing partnership with Craftivist LLC to provide a simple way for OC donors to be gifted a Hope Fridge t-shirt or hoodie as a thank you for a donation to our Open Collective page of $25 / $50 or more. 

“Hope Fridge was part of the inspiration for Hope on the Block [in Fond du Lac, WI]. You [Hope Fridge] helped us realize what is possible, gave us great advice, and helped cheer us on. Thank you for all you do in 2022 and beyond.” - Hope on the Block (community needs pantry opened in 2022)

Throughout 2022, we kept all three of our Hope Fridge locations clean, safe, open, and as fully stocked as we could! We provided opportunities for anyone to make and share food directly with their neighbors, to give back by cleaning our fridges and pantries, to host their own fundraiser or donation drive to support local families, and we provided opportunities for folks to deliver water, snacks, meals, and hygiene supplies directly to those in need. Countless people stepped up and helped their community via Hope Fridge in 2022 and we are so thankful for them all. 

The majority of our donated funds were spent on keeping our fridges and pantries full of fresh and delicious food, brand new hygiene supplies, and new cold-weather gear, including socks, hats, and gloves. A portion was spent on upkeep as needed for our 3 locations (things like replacement totes, garbage bags, paint, lighting, etc.) and a portion was spent on community outreach events. 

 We did face some challenges in 2022. Our biggest challenge was not having enough volunteers to answer all of our incoming requests for help, as well as admin team burnout. We overcame these challenges by referring people to other local resources, asking for help from community members, and making a point to include more rest and recuperation into our schedules and routines. 

In 2022, we learned how to better set healthy boundaries. We also learned how to better take care of ourselves so we can continue taking care of others (taking time off, drinking water, getting enough sleep, etc.) 

How did Hope Fridge change or grow in 2022? We started the year hoping to open a 4th location in a neighboring city, but we quickly realized we needed to first focus on ways to keep our three fridges full more often prior to expanding. (We still aim to expand one day soon!) 
We also updated our mission statement to more specifically include our commitment to advocating for the LGBTQ+ community, our commitment to advocating for reproductive health and abortion rights, and our commitment to justice for all marginalized people, including those killed by police. 

We’re excited about our plans for 2023! We’ll be hosting Oshkosh Pride and Hope Fridge Community Cookout for a second year (more info to be released soon). We'll be working on an informational packet to share with folks in communities around the world who are looking to start their own community fridge project. We aim to help them on their journey by sharing what we've learned. We also intend to create an official onboarding process for future Hope Fridge hosts and host sites to make it easier for us to expand locally in the future. 

Above all, our 2023 plans include staying open, staying safe, and staying fully stocked for everyone at all three of our current locations. Hope Fridge strives to meet our neighbors where they’re at and to treat everyone with kindness, love, dignity, and respect. 

Thank you for continuing to challenge unjust systems with us. We appreciate you! 

-TJ Hobbs, Hope Fridge Co-Founder