Fields Corner resident Joanna Ruhl is a research assistant at the University of Massachusetts Boston and a professional balloon artist under the name Punky Balloonster. Her work on behalf of ABCD communities involves leading the Dorchester Community Fridge, a mutual aid project aimed at combating both food waste and food insecurity. The Dorchester Community Fridge receives food from a variety of donors, which is then distributed to 65-100 families in Fields Corner every week."
“Being able to source more culturally sensitive foods than are typically available at food banks is really impactful,” Joanna said. “When the fridge was still operating on Dorchester Ave, we were able to get several cases of fresh cassava for our neighbors. People cheered when they saw the crates as we were unloading. Being cut off from your cultural traditions and comfort foods is painful. I'm glad we can sometimes make that particular aspect of food insecurity easier.”
Of being nominated as an ABCD Community Hero, Joanna is inclined to share the spotlight. “The other community fridge organizers and all our volunteers and neighbors work so hard to keep this project running. I have accepted this nomination on behalf of everyone involved.”