Foodlink sending truckload of food, supplies to flood-ravaged Texas

One could argue that every day is an emergency for food banks around the country.

Many of the people we serve, whether it’s 85 and sunny or 5 below and windy, are in dire need of emergency food. We are their lifeline. Their last resort.

The emergency unfolding in Texas and Louisiana this past week, however, has reached a historic level. Hurricane Harvey’s devastating rainfall has left thousands homeless and wreaked havoc on the Texas emergency food system. 

BLOG: Feeding America’s Continued Response to Harvey

The numbers are staggering. 50+ inches of rain in some areas of Texas … More than 30,000 homes destroyed by flooding … In excess of $125 billion in damage. Some perspective for western New Yorkers: The total rainfall in Texas could equal the volume of water that flows over Niagara Falls … for an entire year

This is why the Feeding America network exists, and Foodlink is proudly assisting in the relief efforts. This week, we are sending a truckload of food and supplies — 30,551 pounds worth — to our food bank partners in Texas. Items include: Water, hygiene products, snacks, crackers and cookies, and juice pouches. 

24 pallets of food, water and supplies, sit in Foodlink’s distribution center, ready for pickup.

As you can imagine, food banks in the disaster area face a deluge of requests in the days following a disaster. This is why Feeding America acts as the central hub for out-of-state food banks offering to help through the donation of food, water or staffing assistance. With so much of the Texas food banks focusing on local relief efforts immediately following an emergency, the Feeding America team helps handle the logistics for donations such as ours. 

Feeding America food banks affected by the storm include: Houston Food Bank, Food Bank of the Golden Crescent, Southeast Texas Food Bank, Food Bank of Corpus Christi, San Antonio Food Bank, North Texas Food Bank and Brazos Valley Food Bank.

Foodlink is not alone in demonstrating our collaborative spirit. Dozens of food banks, from New Jersey to California, have offered their support by sending food, water, supplies, personal hygiene products and more to our friends in Texas. Others are offering personnel support, too. 

How can YOU help? You can click on any of the links above and donate to any Texas food bank, all of which will see a dramatic increase in need in the days, weeks and months ahead. Food banks are just one type of emergency relief organization that need our help. Other nonprofits that serve children, animals, people with disabilities and the homeless are also in need. NPR has done a nice job providing links to a variety of services

>> How to donate safely and avoid charity scams

Foodlink will continue to monitor the situation in Texas, and pray for those affected by this disaster. We wish all of our food bank partners the best in the weeks ahead, as Houston and all cities and towns affected by Harvey, recover and rebuild.

Constellation Brands’ Nourishing Neighbors initiative organizes massive food drive

Constellation Brands, an internationally renowned beverage producer and distributor, understands the importance of giving back locally.

Based in Victor, Constellation Brands launched its Nourishing Neighbors initiative in 2014 to help combat food insecurity. It has partnered with Foodlink on numerous events and projects, and will add one more to the list in the coming months. Throughout the rest of August and September, the beverage company is encouraging patrons to drop off non-perishable goods at participating local restaurants and wine stores in the Rochester area. Constellation hopes to surpass its goal of donating 1,000 pounds of food to Foodlink.

“Our employees really embrace this ongoing partnership with Foodlink and understand how hunger can have a devastating impact on the Rochester community,” said Tom Kane, Chief Human Resources Officer at Constellation Brands. “Plus, with September being Hunger Action Month nationwide, we felt it was an appropriate time of year to bring this serious issue to the forefront once again.”

According to Feeding America, more than 156,000 people in Foodlink’s 10-county service area are considered food insecure, which means they lack reliable access to a sufficient amount of healthy food. In the four years since Nourishing Neighbors was launched, Constellation Brands has donated more than 200,000 pounds of food to area food banks and employees have volunteered more than 9,000 hours of their time.

Food donations will be accepted at the following locations:

Participating local wine & liquors stores include: Chateau Liquor, Irondequoit Wine and Liquor, Liquor box, Latta Long Liquor, Georgetown Liquor, Fowler’s Canaltown Wine and Spirits, Lisa’s Liquor Barn, Hoffend’s Liquor Store, Pinnacle Liquor, Basin Wine and Spirits, 5 O’clock Somewhere, Chili Liquor, Country Club Liquor, Ryan’s Wine and Spirits and Bombace Wine and Spirits.

Participating local restaurants include: Cottage Hotel, Grappa, Mr. Dominick’s at the Lake, Mr. Dominick’s Fairport, Trata, Remington’s, Jojo Bistro & Wine Bar, 6×50 Victor, Warfield’s Bistro, Pomodoro Grill, Cottage Hotel, Pane Vino and Signature’s.

 

Exhibiting warmth and compassion through thousands of frozen meals

Three pallets of Project LeanNation meals sit in Foodlink’s 5,000-square-foot freezer.

It’s always nice to hear about local start-ups that not only find business success, but also give back to the communities that have supported them along the way. 

This week, 4,440 healthy, frozen meals were delivered to Foodlink as a donation from Lean Life Manufacturing. Based out of Henrietta, the startup company is less than 11 months old, but has already donated more than 5,000 frozen meals to Foodlink. 

“We look forward to growing and working with partners that help us give back to the Rochester area,” the company said. 

Thank you for your support of Foodlink and the people we serve! 

Foodlink urges members of Congress to support TEFAP

Various photos showing TEFAP foods in the Foodlink warehouse.

This past week, Foodlink has contacted the six representatives (2 Senators and 4 House Members) in its 10-county service area to convey our concern that food purchases made through The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) are currently below adequate levels. 

TEFAP foods provided by the USDA are an important part of the food our network relies on to help feed hungry Americans. Foodlink sent letters and made calls to the offices of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Sen. Charles Schumer, Rep. Louise Slaughter, Rep. John Katko, Rep. Chris Collins and Rep. Tom Reed to urge them to make sure the USDA make additional purchases before the Sept. 30 deadline. Without additional purchases, there will be a 43% drop in purchases for FY 2017, which would greatly impact the Feeding America network of 200 food banks. 

We hope they get our message! We must raise our voices in support of TEFAP. About 20% of the food we distribute to hundreds of emergency food providers comes from this important program.

 

Foodlink gets national press with NPR article

A screenshot of the NPR story published Aug. 1 that features Foodlink.

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Many kind words flooded social media Wednesday and Thursday after the publication of an NPR story that detailed the work we’re doing at Foodlink.

The crux of the article, titled, “Beyond Pantries: This Food Bank Invests in theLocal Community,” touched on the evolving landscape of food banking, and how Foodlink is leading the charge through several innovative programs. We still collect and distribute food, but the development of food access and nutrition education programs, our brand new commercial kitchen, food processing and workforce development initatives is where the future lies. 

After explaining Foodlink’s Value-Added Processing goals, the article says:

“It’s outside the realm of what most people think of when they think of a food bank,” says Julia Tedesco, the executive director of Foodlink. But this aligns with the organization’s mission, she adds. By investing in the local economy, the organization has been able to tackle the root cause of hunger – poverty.

Foodlink has nearly doubled its staff since it started investing in local produce, therefore creating new jobs for the community. At the same time school children are eating more nutritious scratch-cooked foods. It’s a way for Foodlink to “nourish this community by nourishing the economy and the individuals in it,” says Tedesco.

Aside from Tedesco, others quoted in the story include Janet Poppendieck, a senior fellow at the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute; and Andy Fisher, cofounder of the non-profit Community Food Security Coalition and author of Big Hunger: the Unholy Alliance Between Corporate America and Anti-Hunger Groups.

Thanks to all who have reached out to us on social media to offer their congrats!