Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – The Hope Fridge is a place where anyone in the community can drop off or take the food that they need in an anonymous way. Organizers say during its first year, they’ve learned more about their community than they expected to.

“Folks have stepped up and gotten involved in a big way and it’s been beautiful.”

In the one year they have been open, the Hope Fridge has expanded from their first location on Curtis Ave in Neenah to Wagner Market, to their first indoor location at Bowen Street Repeats in Oshkosh.

“We didn’t know what would happen with the fridge that you left outdoors, but it’s been awesome. I don’t want to jinx it, but it’s been great.”

“Folks have started their own drives. We’ve had soccer clubs organize their own drives. We’ve had martial arts teams organize drives. We’ve had schools’ email to tell us they’ve done a penny war. We didn’t even know that was happening until it was over.”

While it’s great to see progress, there is still a lot to be done.

“There could be 90 of these and that wouldn’t be enough.”

They’ve seen firsthand this year just how big of a problem food insecurity is in the Fox Valley.

“If you think it’s an issue, you have no idea. You do not have a clue.”

“There’s folks here that are struggling beyond what any of us will ever have to even think about. And it’s just remembering and keeping that at the forefront of whatever you do; that when you get up and you put, you know, 1, 2, 3 sandwiches in the fridge in the morning, that’s one or two or three people’s days you’re going to make.”

While the Hope Fridge would love to expand again, they say right now their main goal is to keep the fridges they do have stocked and clean.

“We have proof of concept. We know that it works. We want to see that fridge more full than it has ever been and overflowing to the point where we literally need another fridge to place more food in and we’re not there yet.”