North Texas donors are stepping in to aid a local bookstore after a fridge intended for people in need was stolen.
The People’s Fridge was located outside the Pan African Connection Bookstore in Oak Cliff, claiming to be Dallas’ first community fridge. Akwete Tyehimba, the bookstore’s owner, told NBC DFW that they started the People’s Fridge to offer free products and other items to struggling families during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Citizens donated items for the refrigerator to help families who had trouble getting enough food. It was one of many community fridges set up around the nation in the wake of the pandemic.
Surveillance cameras outside the building revealed thieves hauled away the fridge on November 2. Although the theft was caught on camera, Tyehimba chose not to press charges, opting to focus on replacing the refrigerator instead.
“There’s no judgment or anger because I know the Creator always brings us something bigger and better,” Tyehimba said.
In the wake of the theft, an anonymous donor reportedly contacted the bookstore, offering to buy a new, larger, commercial fridge to replace the one that was stolen.
The Roots Food Foundation also donated a deep freezer and hundreds of prepared meals.
“It’s unfortunate what happened because this community needed those refrigerators. But taking something negative and making something quantumly positive is just incredible,” said Laura Kovacevich, the executive director of Roots Food Foundation.
Nonprofit leaders, artists, and health advocates gathered at the store on Wednesday to discuss how to support and expand Tyehimba’s efforts to help the community.
The Pan-African Connection is also collaborating with representatives from The Detente Collective, Joppy Momma’s Farm, Hunger Busters, Through Truth to Power, and the Roots Food Foundation to create a large community garden. Kovacevich said someone had already donated land for the project.