Community Bands Together To Help A Restaurant That Supplies Them With Free Food In A Fridge


In Austin, Texas, a couple residing in the heart of their community have been hailed as local heroes for their altruistic efforts in supporting their neighbors in need. Edgar Rico and Sara Mardanbigi, proprietors of Nixta Taqueria, have become emblematic figures of compassion and solidarity by spearheading a community fridge initiative right outside their restaurant.

The genesis of their journey dates back to 2019 when Edgar and Sara embarked on a culinary venture, opening Nixta Taqueria in East Austin. Their establishment served not only as a culinary hub but also as a beacon of hope in an area classified as a food desert, where access to fresh produce and groceries is limited.

Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, Edgar and Sara exhibited resilience and adaptability by pivoting to curbside delivery to sustain their business. However, their generosity transcended the confines of their restaurant when they embraced the Austin Free Fridge Program, positioning their eatery as the pioneering site for this innovative endeavor.

The couple’s commitment to the program was unwavering. They devoted countless hours to replenishing the community fridge, often making numerous trips—sometimes exceeding twenty per day—to ensure it was stocked with an array of essentials, from nourishing meals to vital ‘hydration packs,’ especially crucial during scorching heatwaves.

Their selflessness transformed the community fridge into a vital lifeline for many residents, offering sustenance and support to those grappling with food insecurity. Edgar and Sara’s benevolent actions not only provided nourishment but also fostered a sense of unity and solidarity within the neighborhood.

Now, as fate would have it, the community they have so tirelessly supported has rallied behind them in their time of need. News of the challenges facing Nixta Taqueria has spurred a groundswell of support, illustrating the profound impact of their kindness and the reciprocal nature of goodwill. As they navigate uncertain times, Edgar and Sara find themselves enveloped in a boomerang of positive karma, a testament to the enduring power of compassion and community.


However, this summer, their operations came to a halt due to an electrical problem, which they attributed to “city oversight.” Recognizing the significant number of people depending on them, they understood the urgency of finding a resolution. Within a week, they launched a GoFundMe page, astonishingly surpassing their $80,000 target in just two days.

“It’s the best feeling in the world when you can tell that people have your back,” they wrote on the donation page where a various comments from people who have seen their work provided praise and uplifting messages.

“Help is there—and asking for it isn’t anything to be ashamed of.”

Members of the community, both familiar faces and newcomers, rallied to aid the taqueria, expressing gratitude for its unwavering support during winter storms, heatwaves, and pandemics. Generous donors have already contributed $118,000 to the cause. One had even written:


“The feeling I get when I read those words is, ‘We got you.’’’

The restaurant has resumed operations, bringing relief to Edgar and Sara as they can now sustain their staff and cater to customers, albeit with limited capacity during the construction phase.

“More than anything, it affirmed my belief that there is this unspoken bond and connection that we have with one another that transcends the day-to-day.”



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