The community fridge and pantry outside of the Weaver’s Way Co-op in Ambler was recently shut down due to updated Montgomery County Health Department regulations.
According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, the pantry was an immediate hit with residents since its opening in May 2021, particularly among those struggling during the pandemic.
A recent annual inspection, however, included updated U.S. Food and Drug Administration guidelines for donated food storage where previously there were none.
“I think that the health department is doing good, important work in inspecting grocery stores, like that has to happen,” said Jon Roesser, general manager of Weaver’s Way Co-op Association. “This is just like an unintended negative consequence.”
According to health officials and the updated food code, because the Weaver’s Way community fridge was connected to the grocery store, the fridge needed to be supervised by an employee at all times, like any licensed food facility. All food preparation must be up-to-code, meaning that the fridge could no longer accept home-cooked donations from strangers.
Roesser told The Inquirer that Weaver’s Way that there has been discussion of placing the fridge outside a nearby church, though nothing has been finalized.
On September 28, Weaver’s Way put up this Facebook post:
Where is the Ambler Community Fridge?
Due to updated Montgomery County Health Department regulations, we regretfully have to shut down the Community Fridge and Pantry.
If you’re making a food donation, please consider donating to the Mattie Dixon Community Cupboard @mdcupboard
150 N Main St, Ambler.
Edit: We are hoping to come up with a plan to better support our community in the long term. Thank you for your understanding.
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