KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — In an effort to increase access to fresh food, the Knox County Health Department has created a new community resource, the Sam Duff Community Fridge.

The fridge is part of KCHD’s Healthy Weight Program’s overall goal to introduce healthy eating patterns and prevent diet-related chronic diseases, like type 2 diabetes.

The fridge, located in Sam Duff Memorial Park (4060 Chapman Hwy), will give the community 24/7 access to fresh fruits and vegetables. It was funded through a contract with the State of Tennessee Project Diabetes grant. The City of Knoxville Parks and Recreation, Knox Pride, and the South Woodlawn Neighborhood Association were partners in the project’s creation.

The need for fresh fruits and vegetables is high in Knox County. The 2019 Community Health Assessment found that 17.3% of children were food-insecure, meaning that they lack consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy lifestyle. In addition, more than 6.5% of Knox County adults shared stress about not having enough money for nutritious food.

“We want to encourage anyone who is interested to enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables from the community fridge,” said Kinsey Simmerman, Public Health Educator at KCHD. “We are excited for the opportunity to increase access to healthy foods for everyone in the community and look forward to announcing more community fridges in the future.”

KCHD added that this project will also help reduce household food waste by offering a space where people can donate excess household produce. Those are interested in donating to the Sam Duff Community Fridge are to follow these guidelines:

  • No alcohol.
  • No meat, dairy, frozen or expired food products.
  • Label food with the date.
  • No prepared or home cooked meals.
  • Only put in what you would take out.

Those with questions about the Sam Duff Community Fridge are encouraged to email or call 865-215-5170.