free fridge program

Austin restaurant’s Free Fridge Program garners sweet payback as community rallies to save beloved eatery

As you sow, so shall you reap! This quote came to life for an Austin couple whose good karma of Free Fridge Program was returned with the same generosity.

East Austin in Texas is known as a food desert because many communities in the area have very few to no grocery stores at all. Since residents are far from grocery stores a restaurant called ‘Nixta Taqueria,’ tried to bridge the gap by running a community fridge.

Nixta Taqueria, considered one of Austin’s best restaurants, was started in 2019 and run by Chef Edgar Rico winner of the James Beard Award for Emerging Chef, and his partner Sara Mardanbigi, according to the Good News Network.

SIMILAR: Student lunch debt worth $85,000 was paid off by the local Georgian community.

They managed to scrape through the pandemic by providing curbside delivery. 

Eventually, they started a Free Fridge Program outside their restaurant and loaded it with fresh produce like veggies, fresh meals, and even ‘hydration packs’ during summer heatwaves.  

The couple would replenish the stocks multiple times a day, sometimes even up to 20 times. The fridge became a necessity and means of survival for many locals. 

The couple was happy to serve and feed people around. However, this year due to some electrical issue which was caused by “city oversight” they were forced to shut operations. 

To avoid inconvenience to the people who depended on their Free Fridge Program, the couple knew they had to think of a solution quickly.

So, they started a GoFundMe page with a goal of raising $80,000.

free fridge program
Free Fridge Program: Picture from Nixta Taqueria’s Instagram

To their surprise, the goal was achieved in a week, and more than $114,000 has been raised to date.

As comments trickled in with praises and appreciation for the benevolent couple, so did the donations.

Many people from the community stepped forward to help the couple and thanked them for taking care of them in times of distress, be it during heatwaves, pandemics, or winter storms. 

With the restaurant finally back up and running again, Edgar and Sara are thrilled with the support they received from strangers and known alike. They look forward to continue serving customers and the community. 

Life is an echo. What you send out, comes back to you and Edgar and Sara witnessed a live example of this.

Maya Bennett