CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - Two friends have sparked a friendship over the mutual love for their hometown.
Because of that and their passion for serving others, they’ve brought community refrigerators to Conway and Green Sea. The idea is: “Leave what you can, take what you need.”
“She got me into it,” Pastor Richard Williams said of his friend, Tricia Jones.
The two were connected by a fellow teacher-friend of Jones over Facebook.
“Okay don’t laugh. I found it on TikTok,” Jones explained. “From a guy that I follow. I said, ‘Oh my gosh this is a great thing!’ So I responded and he actually contacted me back. And he was very kind, and he hooked me up with the New Orleans community fridge group, and it’s called ‘Nola Community Fridge.’ When I reached out to them they sent me everything,” Jones said.
Jones and Williams got to work. The two had the first fridge up and running at Williams’ church, Mount Vernon Missionary Baptist Church, by Wednesday. The second fridge opened at Conway Heating and Cooling Co. at 422 Main St., in Conway two days later.
“We had a mission last year to be a real church, one that is relevant, effective, alive and a link to the community. So when she called me I was like this is exactly our vision for the church,” Williams told WMBF.
He said his church hands out produce every Wednesday to community members in need. He said that helped him identify the need for a community fridge in the church’s rural area.
“So they’re really excited. They’re wondering what they can do to help. And they’re telling everyone else in the community. It’s a really small community and word-of-mouth travels really fast, so we don’t have to do a lot of publicizing,” Williams said of his congregation.
Williams said the fridge at his church, painted in chalk paint for inspirational words to be written, has already been re-filled once. The Conway fridge has been re-filled twice.
“If just one family gets fed then it’s worth everything we’ve done,” Jones said.
Both Williams and Jones are born and raised in Conway.
“Conway people are so strong and giving to other Conway people. You know, that’s one of the things I love about this small town, is Conway takes care of Conway and anywhere else. But, wherever you see any need in the Conway community you see people jumping up to help. So we felt like this would really be supported here,” Jones said.
She said she found a note Monday morning in the freezer that warmed her heart. It read “God bless you, thank you.”
The ‘Free Fridge’ program is free, anonymous and runs 24/7 for those who need it. People are welcome to drop off refrigerated goods and non-perishables at each location.
“It belongs to everybody. If you come to the fridge and you see something that needs to be done, feel free to clean it, feel free to take something out that is old and spoiled because it belongs to the community. It’s a gift in both ways,” Williams said.