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Cornelius News

Cool story: Free community refrigerator is an Eagle Scout project

Drew Pappas

June 29. Thanks to the hard work of Eagle Scout Drew Pappas, people facing food insecurity have access to fresh produce for free at the Community Refrigerator at the Ada Jenkins Center.

Young Drew, the son of Richard and Eilish Pappas of Cornelius, came up with the idea for his Eagle Scout project after researching similar “neighbors helping neighbors” projects in other U.S. states.


He worked with Heidi Acker, Ada Jenkins’ food pantry coordinator, as well as a retired contractor, Paul Newton, to bring the project to life.

“I’ve volunteered in food pantries for years,” Pappas said, explaining that his grandfather helped run a food pantry operated by the Catholic Diocese in Charlotte. “I wanted to do something food-oriented for this project, something that provides families with food variety.”

Scouting since 3rd grade

Drew, who is part of Troop 200 at Ramah Church in Huntersville, earned his Eagle this month. He has been a scout since third grade.

“We are very proud of him,” said his dad, a long-time area banker.

Future plans

Drew graduated from Hough earlier this month and plans to attend CPCC for his freshman year, then transfer to a state college and pursue an Engineering Degree. He would like to become an automotive engineer.

The Pappas’ also have a daughter, Joni, who is 16.

The Community Refrigerator at the Ada Jenkins Center is based on the popular idea of the Little Free Book Libraries—where people can grab a book anytime they like. Built like a large closet, the mobile Community Refrigerator is stocked with fresh produce, next to shelves of canned, packaged and bakery goods. It has a child safety lock, but otherwise is open to everyone 24 hours a day, year-round. No referrals needed, no questions asked.