I applaud those who have created and are supporting free community fridges, and food pantries in general, as noted in Janelle Nanos’s front-page story “In a time of need, free community fridges fill a gap” (Sept. 26). The sign posted on a refrigerator — “Take what you need. Leave what you can” — reminds me of a saying I have always greatly admired: “From each according to their ability, to each according to their needs” (Karl Marx, 1875). Indeed, Wikipedia cites instances of this idea going back to the Roman Empire and even the New Testament, in Acts of the Apostles.
Unfortunately, there is ample historical proof that a society cannot long survive on this principle, thanks to human nature, which means those who reach out in this effort should be applauded all the more.