CPS Opportunity Grant Winner Launches Community Fridge in Chicago

“With the CPS Opportunity Grant, we have been able to launch our community fridge. Without your initiative, our Culinary Arts program would not have taken the first steps to implement food as advocacy in our community. The seniors had a vision and the grant made that happen. We paid attention to how the pandemic affected our student’s households in regards to food security.


We used the grant to have a protected refrigerator outside the school where everyone has access to fresh, nutrient-dense meals and free organic and non-organic toiletries. We were also able to purchase diapers and wipes for our teenage parents. Our garden was producing some of the vegetables that were being served like vegetable stir fry, turkey breakfast wraps, quiche, soups and salads.


The fridge takes its model from The Love Fridge in Chicago, however there is no affiliation with them.


After the funds were used, we invited the community to, ‘Take what you need, Leave what you can.” We supported the fridge solely on donations and partnerships like CTE, CCAP, Fillipo Berio Oil, and King Arthur Flour. This was the first time that Chicago Public Schools launched something like this. Lieutenant Governor of Illinois, Julia Stratton showed up to our inauguration. We had a DJ. The menu designed by the students, and all the food was prepared by them too. Students shared their poetry, words of commitment, and welcomed their parents and community aldermen. Thank you so much for your support, compassion, and dedication to our students.”

-Sarai Blankenbaker

Learn more about the Community Service Committee’s CPS Opportunity Grant program here.