By Alysha Conner
INGLEWOOD — Community leaders are utilizing the drive-through method to host charitable events this Christmas and preserve the season of giving amid the coronavirus surge.
Inglewood Community Fridge is one of the newest additions of community refrigerators to South L.A., and the organizers responsible are going one step further to feed the needy for the holidays.
Juice Wood and Vernon Yancy, founders of Inglewood’s Community Fridge, will be hosting a drive-through giveaway for local residents.
“It’s an honor to be able to give back like this during the pandemic to shed light on the reality and situations our people face,” Wood. “As much as we would love to act like we have the luxury to sit here and not worry about how everyone else has been dealing with this, our people are out here struggling.”
“When have Black and brown people ever been able to sit back when the sky is falling and comfortably take shelter too? Never. We’re the ones always having to hold up the sky. So, as long as that’s the case, there needs always to be other brothers and sisters who help hold up the sky for others.”
Wood and Yancy will be joining the organizers from Leimert Park Fridge and Peace Of Mind Compton for “A Verry Merry Fridgemas” weekend of festivities.
Each location will host a drive-through giveaway in their respective communities, primarily considered food deserts.
The community fridge leaders will kick off the festivities in the Crenshaw District on Dec.18, then end on Dec. 20 in Compton.
Inglewood’s charitable affair will take place on Dec. 19 from noon to 3 p.m. at Darby Park.
The Western Avenue Community Fridge also will be represented and provide support throughout the giveaways, despite not having its own.
“Abby mentioned they had come up on an opportunity where someone wanted to donate a bunch of money to the Leimert Park Fridge,” Wood said. “She told me that if the funding came through, she didn’t want to use all of the money on just their fridge. So, she asked if I could create a ‘Fridgemas’ in Inglewood. The funding ended up falling through, but the community came through for us.”
Local businesses who consistently donate supplies to the community fridges have also offered their services to generate the “A Verry Merry Fridgemas” initiative.
At each drive-through giveaway, they will be passing out boxes stocked with groceries items and fresh produce, which will be provided by Summa Everything.
Hot and Cool Café, a Black-owned business in Leimert Park, will be providing 100 prepackaged chili bowl meals at the Inglewood drive-through event.
Vegan meals also will be offered and supplied by Veganz L.A., a minority-owned business in downtown Inglewood.
In addition to the food donations, kids will also have an opportunity to receive Christmas gifts through a toy drive sponsored by OMO Cares.
Hygiene kits, personal protective equipment, and warm weather essentials will be provided as well.
There will be two different kits available, one for men and one for women.
The kits come equipped with feminine products, hand sanitizer, toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant, soap, shampoo, and other toiletries.
Soul 2222 Soul, an L.A.-based holistic health and grassroots organization, donated 100 organic hygiene kits to the Inglewood giveaway.
Donations from the community have allowed the organizers to purchase additional supplies to give away.
They are expected to provide at least 150 supplies to locals in need.
“By the grace of God and the love from our city, we didn’t have to come out of pocket for this event,” Wood said.
The Inglewood drive-through giveaway is open to all. Items will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Attendees can start lining up in their cars no earlier than noon. Face coverings are required.
The community fridge organizers will be present at the event to assist with distributing care packages.
They will be stationed in the Pincay Drive parking lot, right in front of the tennis courts. There will be cones and signage to help direct traffic.
Additional items like toiletries, personal protective equipments and winter clothing are welcomed to be donated the day of the event.
Monetary donations also are being accepted to assist with the continual supply of goods for the community’s outdoor fridge and needs.
In addition to Inglewood’s “A Verry Merry Fridgemas” event, former “Divorce Court” Judge Mablean Ephriam also is hosting a drive-through toy giveaway Dec. 19.
Free toys will be available from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Mablean Ephriam Foundation, 3314 W. Manchester Blvd. Inglewood. There will be an appearance by Santa Claus in the morning.
Ephriam’s Foundation is partnering with the Greater Los Angeles Morehouse Alumni Association and Spelman Alumnae Association to orchestrate the toy drive.
Registration is required to participate, and families must pick up the toys on the day of the event.
There is a limit of six children per household, and they must be under the age of 17.
The children must be present at the time of pick-up, and face masks are required.
To register, visit mableanephriamfoundation.net.
For more information about the Inglewood Community Fridge and the giveaway, follow @inglewoodcommunityfridge on Instagram.
Alysha Conner is a freelance reporter for Wave Newspapers who covers Inglewood. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.