Dartmouth resident Brooke Araujo and Dartmouth native Lindelle Baptista have joined forces to bring a community fridge to New Bedford that aims to help the homeless and less fortunate in the area. Through their organization Take Back NB, these two women aim to make life a little easier for those who are struggling.

Araujo and Baptista met three years ago working in New Bedford, and homelessness was something they saw every day.

“We worked downtown and there was a large homeless population,” Araujo said. “We were seeing them constantly and we knew we wanted to help the community.”

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“We know that aren’t a lot of resources, so we started to do our own research,” Baptista said.

These selfless women started making care packages, handing out bags for men and women equipped with Gatorade, granola bars, socks, and other items. Then they found success by hosting a coat drive in the winter months, but their work wasn’t done.

They wanted to organize a community fridge in the city, and they stopped at nothing to make it a reality.

The two were met with a lot of obstacles after their idea continued to get shut down, but the community fridge finally found a home thanks to the PAACA Recovery Support Center, which agreed to keep the fridge in front of its building at 360 Coggeshall Street.

“We did a raffle and fundraiser at my job, and we used that money to stock the fridge ourselves,” Araujo said. But moving forward, the fridge will run solely on generous donations. Araujo and Baptista are aiming to work with farmers and food pantries to create a consistent flow of food, but for now, the community fridge is in the hands of generous citizens.

“We accept cash donations through Cash App or you can bring items to the fridge,” Baptista said. The fridge is easy to spot thanks to local artist, who painted a colorful design with the words “take some, leave some” proudly displayed in English and in Portuguese.

When it comes to giving back to the community, Araujo and Baptista are always ready.

“It’s very rewarding,” Araujo said. “It’s awesome to know we are surrounded by people with the same mindset, that want to give back as much as they can and have a sense of community in New Bedford.”

These two women are shining examples of how one small idea and one small gesture can make a gigantic impact.

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