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Leave What You Can, Take What You Need


Vincent’s Table Friendly Fridge Serves as a Resource for the Hungry

For nearly three years, Vincent’s Table—a collaborative initiative sponsored by both the University of Mount Saint Vincent and the Sisters of Charity of New York—has been working to fight food insecurity in and around the Mount’s campus.

The program has a simple mission: Vincent’s Table responds to the needs of those who face food insecurity and homelessness in the northwest Bronx and Yonkers by providing them with nourishing food and other assistance, when possible, while recognizing the dignity and value of each individual.

With monthly food distributions held at sites throughout the area, Christmas-time toy drives, and the availability of clothing and household goods when needed, Vincent’s Table is ensuring our community members have what they need to thrive in an economy that is constantly battered by inflation and the rising cost of goods.

In late Summer 2022, following the news of other community refrigerators opening in the Bronx and around the country, Vincent’s Table opened and installed a ‘Friendly Fridge’ and food pantry right here on the Mount’s Riverdale campus. Nestled away in a corner of the Villa Parking Lot, the fridge and pantry are discrete, yet located in a central location with easy access for those who need it.

The full-size refrigerator and pantry shed offers the opportunity for those who have more than they need to leave what they can, and those who are hungry to take what they need.

The only thing it was missing? A little pizzazz…something to welcome community members to utilize the fridge.

The coordinators of Vincent’s Table gathered in Fall 2022 and distributed a call for submissions as they looked for an artist to design and paint a mural across the fridge and shed. After reviewing several submissions, the winning artist was selected: the Mount’s very own Analydia Camacho ’24, a studio art major.

Analydia is a visual artist specializing in illustration, painting, and mixed-media. Growing up between Brooklyn and the Bronx, she will be the first in her immediate family to earn a four-year degree, graduating this May. Throughout her time at the Mount, Analydia has actively contributed to the creative community on campus by serving as president of the art club Creative HeArts and collaborating on projects with the Office of Alumnae/i Relations and Giving; the Division of Communication, Art, and Media; and the Campus Store.

But, having faced food insecurity herself, this project, in particular, is something that Analydia held close to her heart.

“My experience in participating in this project was very impactful,” Analydia reflected. “Not only did this project provide me with hands-on experience as a studio artist, but I also learned a valuable lesson: asking for help. I had my own experience with food insecurity, which led to the discovery of Vincent’s Table. Designing this mural allowed me to give back to my school community.”

Analydia spent many long days (including during the Summer and on weekends) designing and painting the Friendly Fridge mural. It does everything it needs to do: brightens up the outdoor pantry within the context of the Villa Parking Lot, visually captivates and entices, and de-stigmatizes food insecurity with its playful imagery and saturated colors.

“We wanted to rebrand food insecurity by turning this pantry into something communal that anyone on our campus can benefit from,” shared Thomas Ray Willis, Assistant Professor of Studio Art and Analydia’s mentor throughout this process. “Using vibrant colors, images of our campus, and depictions of the nature around us were important in grabbing pantry users’ attention, while making it a fun experience to get close to the design to look at the details and enjoy what’s inside.”

Analydia’s artwork on the Friendly Fridge mirrors the missions of both the University and the Sisters, aiming to inspire individuals and foster a more interconnected community. In all that she does, she embraces the wisdom of Dumbledore from the Harry Potter series, believing that “it is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

“When creating the design and physically painting the mural, I felt my mission was not just to show others that the pantry exists, but it was also a way for me to say thank you to those who listened in my own time of need,” said Analydia. “I hope that the pantry and its inviting design can provide the first step to my fellow peers to not feel embarrassed when they do pick up a snack for the day.”

Professor Willis could not stop sharing more and more about Analydia’s work and her dedication to the Friendly Fridge project:

“Analydia put an incredible amount of time and thought into the pantry mural. Over the course of a year, I observed her dedication to this project, balancing it with her academic schedule and a full-time job. She devoted her weekends and even sacrificed Summer days to meticulously design, propose, refine, and bring this significant piece to life. As a student, she encapsulated what her peers would want and applied all that she’s learned to making this a bright and inviting spot on campus. It is beyond rewarding to see Analydia develop as an artist both within and beyond the classroom.”

When reflecting upon the conclusion of the project, the words of French visual artist Henri Matisse came to Analydia’s mind: “Creativity takes courage.”

Not only did it take courage for Analydia to lead the design of the fridge and pantry mural, but it takes courage for those who seek the benefits of the Friendly Fridge to find them. The Vincent’s Table refrigerator is always open, with 24/7 access to those on campus and beyond.

Have more than you need? Find the courage to donate what you can.

Hungry? Find the courage to visit the fridge and pantry to feed yourself and your family.

Want to help from afar? Find the courage to make a donation to Vincent’s Table.

About the University of Mount Saint Vincent
Founded in 1847 by the Sisters of Charity, the University of Mount Saint Vincent offers a nationally recognized liberal arts education and a select array of professional fields of study on a landmark campus overlooking the Hudson River. Committed to the education of the whole person, and enriched by the unparalleled cultural, educational, and career opportunities of New York City, the University equips students with the knowledge, skills, and experiences necessary for lives of achievement, professional accomplishment, and leadership in the 21st century.