The Anaheim Union High School District, in partnership with Waste Not OC and Impact the Change, has unveiled the world’s first off-the-grid, fully sustainable, 100 percent solar-powered freezer unit to store thousands of frozen meals for people in need.
After three years of planning and building, “The Beast” was created from a 40-foot refrigerated cargo container and will be housed in the parking lot at Anaheim High School. This one-of-a-kind freezer is able to store up to 25,000 vacuum-packed, frozen meals for the community, serving as a hub for Orange County food recovery.
AUHSD said that the new cold storage unit will help feed those in need regardless of power interruptions and that local businesses are already on board developing products to help protect and maintain inventory and manage the temperature for thousands of vacuum sealed meals.
According to an article in the OC Register, more than 450,000 people in Orange County experience food insecurity, and with the coronavirus pandemic taking a toll on food drives and public pantries, families may be left with limited options on their plate.
After campuses closed to students in mid-March, school districts across Orange County saw a need to provide grab-and-go meals to students at no cost to make sure the move to distance learning didn’t cause children to go hungry. Anaheim High School Principal Robert Saldivar told the OC Register that the freezer will be a huge resource to the community, noting that the school hosted food distributions over the summer and served between 800 and 1,000 families daily.