Finding herself in need taught Phallie Miller everything she needed to know about service.
In 2018, she was struggling with an addiction to prescription drugs. Seeking treatment gave her a new lease on life.
“Being at rock bottom will teach you probably more than being on a pedestal will ever teach you about humility and what’s really needed in the world and what’s necessary to you,” she says.
Phallie first saw a community fridge painted by one of her favorite artists in Brooklyn. For a single mom who has struggled with poverty, the idea hit close to home.
It clicked. She could help do it right here in Lafayette. Lafayette Community Fridge was born.
Since building its first fridge in 2020, Lafayette Community Fridge has added two more with the help of a growing team of volunteers.
The group goes beyond mutual aid. Its “We Fill It Wednesday” program makes sure each fridge is continuously stocked.
The impact has been profound for co-founder Erinn Quinn. It’s proven an important resource for neighbors, helping them get through personal hardships — and natural disasters.
“We’ve heard that it’s helped people get through hurricane season,” Erinn says. “We’ve really seen it help people through some of their harder times, whether it’s them getting back on their feet or just having trouble making those little ends meet.”
Lafayette Community Fridge meets the community where they are, and that means coming to the people they serve with kindness and respect. Folks give what they can and take what they need. It’s a community service by the community.
“That reciprocity has brought respect to the communities and respect for each other,” Phallie says. “I’ve seen a big difference in people’s faces and in their gratitude and knowing that someone’s got your back at the end of the day.”
Celebrate Erinn, Phallie and the rest of this year’s honorees Dec. 1 at Moncus Park.