Cape Coral woman puts fridge outside her business to help feed community

Published: December 24, 2020 3:44 PM EST
Updated: December 24, 2020 7:41 PM EST

Dionne Lopez is on a mission.

The small business owner wants to make it easier for people to have food on the table during the holidays. Last week she sparked an idea.

Lopez, who owns Lee County Plumbing Supply in Cape Coral, purchased a fridge and placed it outside of her business, packing it with food.

“We saw all the long lines for Harry Chapin and so on and so forth and we said how can we do it,” Lopez said. “We’re like, hey, let’s put a fridge outside. We can put food in it and people can come and get what they want or people can leave what they want.”

The fridge is filled. It has sandwiches, chips, meat, canned goods, noodles and water.

The community has helped to fill it.

“I saw what she was doing,” Rich Parkhurst, of Cape Coral. “I’ve had a few problems and the church helped me out a lot, so I thought it was the least I could do.”

Every day there is something new.

On Thursday, there was a slab of ribs in the freezer.

Lopez said she understands what it’s like to not know when your next meal will come.

A business venture in 1982 did not go as planned.

“It wasn’t doing very well and we had spent the money in buying the business, my parents did, and things were hard and we couldn’t afford meat,” she said. “It was rice and beans for us for the majority of the time and our parents said it’s gonna get better, it’s gonna get better and eventually did.”

She wants to keep others from those circumstances while also getting rid of the stigma of hunger.

“If you know that somebody needs something and they can’t make it here, pick it up for them,” Lopez said. “No one’s going to look at you funny.”

Lopez said it feels good to help others. She wants to keep the fridge functioning well past the holidays.

“That’s the main thing,” she said. “It feels good to give to others.”

The business is located at 532 SE 47th Terrace in Cape Coral. Anyone can contribute to the fridge.