Personality: Taylor R. Scott

Spotlight on founder of RVA Community Fridge

3/11/2021, 6 p.m.
For the last four months, Taylor RaShon Scott has been working to help meet the Richmond community’s need for food ...

For the last four months, Taylor RaShon Scott has been working to help meet the Richmond community’s need for food during the pandemic.

As the founder of RVA Community Fridge, Ms. Scott established the first community fridge in Virginia that provides free food to anyone who needs it. The community fridge — now there are two, with a third about to come online — also is open for people to place donations of fresh and prepared foods.

Ms. Scott, who started the organization with a small group of Black, Indigenous and People of Color in November, also is busy working as a COVID-19 registrar with GENETWORx laboratory and pursuing a graduate degree.

But her volunteer efforts have been paying off so far, she says, with enthusiastic responses and support from the community.

“Honestly, getting the first one up was actually a little bit more time consuming than these new ones since now we have so much help,” says Ms. Scott. RVA Community Fridge now has about 100 volunteers who are organized into subgroups to handle various tasks.

The importance of this kind of community aid was a lesson Ms. Scott learned early in life in her native New Orleans, where she first saw and felt the sense of community giving. It became even more prominent following Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Now living in Richmond’s Shockoe Bottom, Ms. Scott sees how this type of community aid and activism is being embraced by Richmonders. Community fridges, she explains, first started in Germany and Spain in 2012 before being adopted by groups throughout the United States.

“Since COVID-19 started, more and more community fridges have been popping up within the United States,” Ms. Scott says. “People are facing new and more hardships and are realizing that with cooperation, collaboration and communica- tion, we, the community, can provide for each other.”

Currently, two community fridges exist in Richmond, at Pomona Plants on Venable Street and behind the Bearded Kitchen on Hull Street in South Side. A third, at New Kingdom Christian Ministries on Dill Avenue in Highland Park, will be opening soon.

A wide variety of food, including fruits and vegetables, juice, milk and other items, is available 24/7 for anyone to take. RVA Community Fridge members regularly check the refrigerators throughout the day to replenish the stock and ensure a safe and sanitary resource for those who need it.

Partnerships with a variety of farms, gardens and organizations also helps to supply food.

RVA Community Fridge also is working with local artists to add color to the refrigerators.

With community support and donations, Ms. Scott said the organization plans to add at least one new community fridge each month around Richmond. It also is establishing a location with the JJD Foundation in Ettrick near Virginia State University.

Ms. Scott says the group is planning ahead to ensure their food supply and fridges can adapt to the seasons and the needs of the community.

“I am just head over heels, so excited that it has taken off like this,” Ms. Scott says. “I can’t thank everyone enough for supporting the fridge.”

Meet a community aid provider and pioneer and this week’s Personality, Taylor R. Scott:

No. 1 volunteer position: Founder, RVA Community Fridge

Date and place of birth: Nov. 28 in New Orleans.

Current residence: Richmond’s Shockoe Bottom.

Occupation: COVID-19 registrar at GENETWORx laboratory.

Education: Bachelor’s in criminal justice, with a concentration in forensic crime scene investigation and a minor in homeland security and emergency preparedness, Virginia Commonwealth University; currently working on my master’s in forensic psychology at Liberty University.

Family: Mother, Tiffany Scott; father, Sterling Scott; and brother, Sterling Scott.

RVA Community Fridge is: A small group of BIPOC community organizers putting together our efforts to start the first community fridges in Virginia right here in Richmond.

When and why founded: Founded in November 2020 to provide free food to the community. It is based on donations from within the community, including individuals and businesses.

Mission: RVA Community Fridge’s mission is to promote equal access to healthy food options, including fresh produce, as well as to reduce food waste, insecurity and foster a sense of mutual aid amongst our community.

Food insecurity is: HealthyPeople.gov defines food insecurity as the disruption of food intake or eating patterns because of lack of money and other resources.

History of the community fridge concept: First established in Germany and Spain in 2012 and later making their way to the United States, community fridges have become part of a national movement within the past year stemming from economic difficulties associated with the pandemic, greater scrutiny of social injustice and an increase in citizen-led grassroots efforts.

How many fridges are in Richmond and where: There are two within Richmond: At 2025 Venable St. at Pomona Plants, and behind the Bearded Kitchen, 2414 Hull St. in South Side. A third location, at New Kingdom Christian Ministries, 3200 Dill Ave. in Highland Park, is a work in progress.

Art and RVA Community Fridge: The community fridges are painted by local artists to foster local support, cooperation and showcase their work.

What is typically inside the fridges: The fridges are normally stocked with fresh produce, fruits, vegetables, condiments, juice, milk, bread and prepared meals. And pantry goods may be stored in the bins on the side.

Who is eligible to open the fridge: The fridge may be accessed by anyone in need or who wants to donate 24/7.

No. 1 goal of RVA Community Fridge: To provide fresh produce and goods to the community while fostering a sense of mutual aid.

Strategy for achieving goals: Raise donations via the community and grants to stock the fridge for the community.

COVID-19 and RVA Community Fridge: Since COVID-19 started, more and more community fridges have been popping up within the United States. People are facing new and more hardships and are realizing that with cooperation, collaboration and communication, we, the community, can provide for each other.

Partnerships: We currently are partnered with Virginia Free Farms, Pomona Plants, Intergalactic Taco, Stockton Community Garden and Apotecha Farms.

How to get involved: Volunteers are always needed to help stock, check on and clean the fridges. People can sign up to get involved via our linktr.ee in our bios.

How to donate: Anyone can bring donations to the fridge 24/7, or they can provide a monetary donation via our gofund me, cash app or grant.

How I start the day: I start my day with the mentality that it will be better than yesterday and that my mood is based on how I interpret things.

Three words that best describe me: Outgoing, loud and loving.

Best late-night snack: Peanut butter and jelly.

What is typically inside my fridge: Since I am plant based, my fridge is usually stocked with an array of fresh fruit and produce, (v) butter, homemade juices and milk.

How I unwind: A good meditation and yoga session.

Something I love to do that most people would never imagine: I am obsessed with collecting sea turtle figurines and buying house plants.

Quote that most inspires me: “Nisi Credideritis, Non Intelligetis” translation “Un- less you believe, you will not understand.”

At the top of my “to-do” list: To create a seasonal vegan cook e-book by 2022.

Best thing my parents ever taught me: Speak my mind and never give up on what you believe in.

Person who influenced me the most: My parents. They’re both dedicated, hard-working and loving people and have taught me to be the person I am today!

Book that influenced me the most: “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey.

What I’m reading now: “Sacred Woman: A Guide to Healing the Feminine Body, Mind and Spirit” by Queen Afua.

Next goal: We hope to put up at least one new fridge per month for the next year.