Open Collective
Open Collective
Mutual Aid, Hope Fridge, and Clarifying our Mission
Published on July 6, 2022 by Tj Hobbs

Hello everyone, 

Hope Fridge is and always has been a mutual aid organization. Mutual aid is a principle based on the idea that the systems we currently have in place aren’t taking care of the people they were designed to serve, and regular people do have the power to organize to take care of each other in creative ways. As a mutual aid community project, there will always be continued outreach we need to do to continue to build solidarity in our communities. “Oshkosh Pride 2022 & Hope Fridge 1st Anniversary Community Cookout” and the “We Won’t Go Back March for Our Freedom” in Appleton on July 4, 2022 are two recent examples of that.

According to the book “Mutual Aid: Building Solidarity During this Crisis (and the Next)” by Dean Spade, an American lawyer, writer, trans activist, and Associate Professor of Law at Seattle University School of Law, “Acute crises, like the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change-induced fires, floods, and storms, as well as the ongoing crisis of racial criminalization, brutal immigration enforcement, endemic gender violence, and severe wealth inequality, threaten the survival of people around the globe. Government policies actively produce and exacerbate the harm, inadequately respond to crises, and ensure that certain populations bear the brunt of pollution, poverty, disease, and violence. In the face of this, more and more ordinary people are feeling called to respond in their communities, creating bold and innovative ways to share resources and support vulnerable neighbors. This survival work, when done in conjunction with social movements demanding transformative change, is called mutual aid. Mutual aid has been a part of all large, powerful social movements, and it has a particularly important role to play right now, as we face unprecedented dangers and opportunities for mobilization. Mutual aid gives people a way to plug into movements based on their immediate concerns, and it produces social spaces where people grow new solidarities. At its best, mutual aid actually produces new ways of living where people get to create systems of care and generosity that address harm and foster well-being.” 

It’s obvious that Hope Fridge has always been about addressing food insecurity, but Hope Fridge has also always been about addressing the systemic failures that cause folks to experience food insecurity in the first place. 

The portion of our Mission Statement regarding our necessary work that goes above and beyond just keeping our fridges full currently reads: “We have a responsibility to challenge and change unjust systems in our society, including the over-policing and qualified immunity of police in our communities, our collective and individual unconscious and conscious racial biases, the systemic racism prevalent in nearly every system in our country, income inequality, access to affordable education and medical care, and access to healthy and affordable food.”

Food security is an important part of what we do, however, it is only one part of our approach to challenge and change unjust systems in our society. 

In order to further clarify and in honor of the complete transparency that has always been our goal, we move to add the following clarification to our Mission Statement:  

"Hope Fridge actively works to promote, participate in, provide supplies for, and host/co-host events that provide resources and/or a sense of belonging and community to the LGBTQIA+ community, as we understand that they are at significantly higher risk for homelessness, food insecurity, depression, and suicide due to systemic homophobia and transphobia. 

Hope Fridge actively works to promote, participate in, provide supplies for, and host/co-host events that mobilize our community members into direct action against injustice everywhere, including protecting our right to an abortion at any time and for any reason. If we don’t have bodily autonomy, we have nothing.

Hope Fridge actively works to promote, participate in, provide supplies for, and host/co-host events that mobilize our community members into direct action for justice for marginalized people everywhere, including Isaiah Tucker, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Jayland Walker, and others killed by people who are paid to protect them.”

If you no longer feel aligned with our Mission Statement upon receiving this further clarification of it, here is a link with instructions for how to turn off any recurring donations to our Hope Fridge mutual aid project:

If you would like to become a one-time donor or a recurring donor after learning more about us, here is a link to become a donor and/or to view all of our incoming and outgoing funds:

Thank you to everyone who goes out of their way to show up for others in their community, in whatever way you choose to do so. 

We appreciate you all!

Marijke van Roojen

Posted on July 8, 2022

Thank you TJ for your clarity and social justice vision and voice. I am completely aligned with this updated mission statement and grateful that an organization and movement such as Hope Fridge- and all that that means for all of us, is alive and well and vocal in my community. Feeling grateful and inspired. Love, Marijke