Foodlink partners with MCC, Chamber for workforce training program

Forklift training in Foodlink’s distribution center began Sept. 25, 2017.

MCC’s Corporate College, the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce and Foodlink have teamed up to provide power industrial vehicle training and evaluation this fall to better prepare folks to advance their careers or obtain employment in regional warehouse and manufacturing positions.

Sept. 25 marked the first day of class, which was taught by Foodlink’s Shawn Poutre (Director of Distribution Center Operations) and Nathan Boor (Safety and Facilities Supervisor). Ten participants attended the class. 

This full-day training included both hands-on and classroom instruction and evaluation. The program also includes support with resume development and job search training.

The program and partnership is made possible through an America’s Promise grant through the United States Department of Labor. America’s Promise grants are designed “to accelerate the development and expansion of regional workforce partnerships committed to providing a pipeline of skilled workers in specific sectors.”

We’re looking forward to assisting with this exciting opportunity, and further Foodlink’s involvement as a local leader in workforce development!

The program was made possible through a partnership with MCC and The Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce, and a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Monroe County announces partnership with the Curbside Market

Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo gets ready to speak at a news conference on Sept. 20. to announce a new partnership between the county and Foodlink.

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One mission of the Curbside Market, aside from providing healthy food at affordable prices, is to seek out those with SNAP benefits and educate them about the program. 

In seeking out new sites to host the program — and there are now more than 80 in the regular rotation — one building on Westfall Road makes perfect sense. The Monroe County Department of Human Services, where many residents go to apply for and receive SNAP benefits, will soon host the Curbside Market in its parking lot on a regular basis. 

News coverage: Foodlink Curbside Market coming to county DHS offices on Westfall Rd. (WHEC)

“By regularly hosting Foodlink’s mobile market at our central DHS campus, we can help make fresh, healthy, affordable foods accessible to local families who need it most,” Monre County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo said in a statement.

The county and several Foodlink staff members made the announcement at the DHS campus on Sept. 20 in conjunction with Hunger Action Month. 

Officials from Monroe County join Foodlink employees Sept. 20 for a Hunger Action Month photo at the Department of Human Services on Westfall Road.

Curbside customers who frequent the Curbside Market are not only eating healthier, they’re stretching their food budgets through the Double Up Food Bucks program. For every dollar spent (up to $10) at the market, customers will get an extra dollar in return to purchase more fresh produce. 

“Your health is everything,” Dinolfo said Wednesday. “Health is the foundation — the key to success in this community. We want to make sure that when our kids go to school, they’re not hungry. That when our families come home, there’s food on the table. We want to make sure that our families have the ability to put their best foot forward, and having fresh, healthy food is certainly a key component to that. We can’t do this alone, and we have to make sure that we identify great community partners, like Foodlink, to get the job done.”

Foodlink and Monroe County are working out the logistics of the optimal day and time to host the program, and the partnership will be up and running this fall. 

 

Curbside Market Manager Flo Clemmons shows Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo the newest vehicle in the fleet.

Foodlink, Excellus celebrate partnership at Lexington Ave. Urban Farm

Mitch Gruber, Chief Progams Officer at Foodlink, gives an interview at the Lexington Avenue Urban Farm on Sept. 8, 2017.

On Sept. 8, Foodlink and Excellus BlueCross BlueShield celebrated a growing partnership focused on improving food access and health outcomes in the Rochester region.

Excellus and Foodlink hosted a press event at the Lexington Avenue Urban Farm, which will soon be the site of a new, natural play space. Construction will start soon on the area, which received funding through the 2017 Excellus Community Health Awards. 

“Foodlink is grateful that Excellus BCBS has partnered with us to improve food access in our region, both through the Lexington Avenue Urban Farm, and our Curbside Market,” said Foodlink Executive Director Julia Tedesco. “We’re excited to provide dozens of families with a safe space for children to play, and our newest Curbside truck has helped Foodlink distribute even more produce in neighborhoods where fresh fruits and vegetables are less accessible.”

The play space will feature many natural elements, and might not look like a conventional playground. The play space will include logs, stepping stones and “willow tunnels.” Items such as kick balls and hula hoops will encourage physical activity, along with a painted tire play area.

A rendering of the new play space at the Lexington Avenue Urban Farm. Construction will take place this fall.

Excellus also provided crucial funding for the newest vehicle in the Curbside Market fleet. A newer fleet results in more reliable service, which allows Foodlink to reach more sites, serve more customers and sell more nutritious food in low-income/low-access communities. 

The addition of the new vehicle has helped Foodlink increase the number of people it serves through its Curbside trucks by about 35 percent. The Curbside Market made more than 4,100 transactions in July of 2017, compared to almost 3,100 in July of 2016.

“Good nutrition is the key to good health, yet too many people in our communities don’t have access to affordable fruits and vegetables,” said Holly Snow, Director of Community Health Engagement, Excellus BCBS. “As we work to build healthier communities, we must find ways to combat hunger and Foodlink has found innovative ways to do just that.”

Holly Snow, Director of Community Health Engagement at Excellus BCBS, speaks to the media on Sept. 8.