CONWAY, Ark. — It is estimated that 40 percent of the food in the United States never gets eaten, while one out of six Americans is food-insecure (National Resources Defense Council, 2012). Now, one church in Conway is working to change that for their community.

It’s been two years since Salem United Methodist Church in Conway started the Sharing Fridge. 

“It’s hard to keep it full because we are constantly moving food through there,” said Pastor Todd Vick.

It’s a food ministry available to anyone, 24/7, in a convenient location right outside the church doors.

Pastor Vick said people are shocked when he explains how simple it is for anyone to get food if they are in need. 

“They can’t believe they don't have to show an ID or anything and can come anytime,” he said.  “We have leftover food that needs to be eaten and we have so much wasted food in America that we are happy to share our food.”

Ministry volunteers work extra hours saving all of their leftovers trying to keep the fridge fully stocked. 

Volunteers have also been knocking on local restaurant doors asking for their support.

“We get left-overs from Harps, Chick-Fil-A, Little Caesars and more,” said Pastor Vick. 

Vick said they also get donations from individuals but they need more. In fact, when stock has been low, they've gotten creative.

They noticed people leaving canned foods, plates, forks, napkins and everything else needed to make a delicious meal, in a storage unit next to the Sharing Fridge. Volunteer Diana Arms said many people have said they don’t know how or don’t have the means to cook a meal each night, so a small group from the church wanted to help. The group decided to find recipes using the available canned goods in the storage unit to make full meals for the fridge. 

 “We decided to cook meals and see if people would make use of them and they sure did,” she said, “They disappeared.”

Now, the church is hoping the community will come together to keep their fridge stocked and create more Sharing Fridges across central Arkansas.

“We’d love to see multiple sites in Conway and if it could expand to other cities we would be happy to share our materials,” said Pastor Vick. “We’d love to partner with other churches in Conway.”

To find out how you or your business can help keep the Sharing Fridge stocked, visit their website.

The fridge is located at 1018 Salem Rd., Conway.