By Steve Large

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The city of Sacramento is pulling the plug on a “free fridge” in midtown.

The city’s code enforcement agency handed out a citation to the property owner where the outdoor refrigerator, full of food, had been located. It had been up and running for more than a month, making free food available to anyone who needed some.

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Jo Bulaong is one of the organizers of the free refrigerator. She read from the code enforcement citation forcing the free fridge to shut down.

“Apparently the fridge is labeled as ‘junk’ and ‘debris,'” Bulaong said.

Code enforcement also described the fridge as causing “dangerous, unsightly, blighted conditions.”

“It’s definitely frustrating for everyone involved,” Bulaong said.

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A group called SacFridge4All created this free fridge during the pandemic, painting the doors on the outside. A group of volunteers maintains everything inside. The fridge had been placed in Powerhouse Alley near 25th Street.

The concept is a community refrigerator. People take out what they need, put in what they don’t. Free food for all.

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Code enforcement says someone complained.

“So apparently the neighbors concern, you know ‘there’s a free fridge here in the alley, a homeless encampment is going to start up,’ and in reality that is just very far from the truth,” Bulaong said.

Neighbor Justin Johnson would like to see it come back.

“I haven’t seen any problems with it,” Johnson said. “I think it’s a really beautiful fridge. It fits perfectly in that space.”

A similar free fridge on F Street is still stocked and running. Fridge host Billy Krimmel says code enforcement has been out and taken photos of it. He hasn’t been shut down yet.

“The idea is just that being able to eat is a human right,” Krimmel said.

“People are struggling right now,” Bulaong said. “They’re choosing between rent or groceries and the fridges seem like a very direct way to help people in need.”

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