Foodlink opens up more volunteer shifts for December

Due to popular demand, Foodlink has added an additional warehouse volunteer shift on Thursdays evenings from 6-8pm for the month of December. As many of you know, our warehouse is at its busiest during the holiday season as we receive an influx of donated food. With your support, we are able to ensure those donations have been properly sorted, inspected, and packaged so we can distribute them to member agencies and community partners throughout our region. 

As you prepare for the upcoming holidays, please consider volunteering with Foodlink individually, or with family and friends. If you have volunteered with us before, please self-schedule yourself for a warehouse shift on our Volunteer Calendar. If this would be your first time volunteering with us, please register!  If you wish to volunteer with a group, please contact Volunteer Programs Coordinator, Jessica Lockett, at 585-413-4094 or to secure a group reservation. 

Thank you!

KanPak, GSF Foundation host ‘No Lunch, Lunch’ in support of Foodlink

The meal was simple and so was the message. Too many children struggle with hunger in our communities. 

At the “Feeding Hunger: A ‘No Lunch’ Lunch” event Nov. 20 at Penn Yan, more than 200 people gathered to help raise awareness about food insecurity in the Finger Lakes, with proceeds benefitting Foodlink. 

KanPak, which hosted the event, and the Golden State Foods Foundation combined to raise $40,000 for the first-year event. “No Lunch” Lunch featured a panel of speakers, and a soup kitchen-style meal of soup and bread. The Feeding Hunger: A “No Lunch” Lunch program was developed by the GSF Foundation in 2016, and is on track to provide 750,000 meals through their food bank partners by the end of 2018. 

“Our goal is to help the hungry children and their families in our local community, and partnering with Foodlink, we know that the funds we raise through Feeding Hunger: A “No Lunch” Lunch will directly benefit those who need it most,” said Melissa Nolan, KanPak Penn Yan local committee chair. “With the help of our sponsors, customers, and the resources of Foodlink, we’re working to end hunger here in our hometown.”


Hochul, Morelle help distribute Thanksgiving meals at Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul and Rep. Joe Morelle, who was recently elected to represent New York’s 25th Congressional District, stopped by Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church to help pass out Thanksgiving meals to 175 families on Tuesday in Rochester. 

The event was part of an effort to feed 40,000 New Yorkers statewide. Walmart and Wegmans played a massive role in donating food to distributions held across the state. 

“Thanksgiving is about more than being thankful, it’s about acting on it by helping those less fortunate,” Hochul said. “This partnership will help to ensure that thousands of New Yorkers in need have a meal to enjoy during Thanksgiving. I thank our partners for providing these generous food donations, and hope that all New Yorkers help those less fortunate during the holiday season.”

Foodlink provided 175 chickens and assorted local produce for the distribution, while Wegmans provided 100 turkeys and boxes containing multiple side dishes.

Linda Lovejoy, Wegmans Community Relations Manager, said, “Providing food for people at risk of hunger is one of Wegmans’ highest giving priorities all year long. We are happy to continue our partnership with Governor Cuomo to ensure families in our communities have a warm meal to gather around during this special time of year. We believe communities thrive when we all work together.”

Rosa’s Thanksgiving Dinner returns Monday

One of the city’s most benevolent residents turns 96 next month, but that won’t stop Rosa Wims from inviting hundreds of her neighbors over for a warm, holiday meal.

The 33rd edition of “Rosa’s Thanksgiving Dinner” is scheduled for Monday at the Montgomery Neighborhood Center on Cady Street. The event begins at noon.  

“Mother Wims,” 95, as she is known in the neighborhood, has dedicated her life to public service. She is recognized as the first black nurse’s aide at Rochester General Hospital and later became a licensed practical nurse. She founded the Faith Community Health Awareness Center on Genesee Street, which later was renamed in her honor, the Rosa Wims Family Wellness Center.

What began as a small holiday gathering on Jefferson Avenue has transformed into a yearly tradition that feeds hundreds. Volunteers from the health care community help serve the food, much of which is prepared by Foodlink’s Community Kitchen, led by Executive Chef Casey Holenbeck. The turkeys are generously donated by Palmer Food Services, and pies are donated by Special Touch Bakery.

Wims has spent most of her life in the Third Ward and Corn Hill neighborhoods since moving to Rochester as a teenager. She has earned several awards and honors for her work, including the “W” Award, Susan B. Anthony Award, and the W. Burton Richardson Lifetime Achievement Award. 

WHO: Foodlink, Rosa Wims & all her friends and neighbors!

WHAT: 33rd annual Rosa’s Thanksgiving Dinner

WHEN: Monday, November 12, 2018; Noon until food runs out

WHERE: Montgomery Neighborhood Center; 10 Cady Street, Rochester

Let’s Play! Canstruction Rochester begins at The Strong

Hanlon Architects’ 2018 Canstruction sculpture, on display at the Strong Museum of Play.


Canstruction Rochester’s 11th annual design-build competition has officially begun.

Ten local teams designed and constructed giant sculptures made entirely out of canned food on Saturday at The Strong National Museum of Play. The sculptures, all of which celebrate “play,” will be on display for two weeks. 

Presented by Buckingham Properties, Canstruction Rochester serves as a major food drive for Foodlink and provides a fun way for local companies, architects, engineers, and students to team build. Since its inception in 2006, the competition has resulted in over 330,000 pounds of donated food for local families.

PHOTOS: Check out the Canstruction Facebook album

Participating teams include:

·         APD Engineering & Architecture

·         Bergmann Associates

·         Hanlon Architects

·         HBT Architects

·         Kids Can Too

·         LaBella Associates

·         Rochester Institute of Technology

·         Rochester Institute of Technology – Honors Engineering

·         SEI Design Group

·         Wegmans Development Group

LaBella Associates.

The sculptures will remain up for public viewing through Nov. 17 at The Strong. The special exhibit requires museum admission, and is open during The Strong’s normal operating hours. On the weekend of Nov.10-11, The Strong is offering a free ride on the carousel, train, or five arcade tokens with each canned food donation. A panel of local judges reviews the sculptures and will present awards in several categories. Visitors may vote for a People’s Choice Award in person during the first week of the display.

Winners in all categories locally go on to compete internationally. For additional event information and photos of past competitions, visit




East Ave. Grocery Run raises awareness and money for local anti-hunger programs

The 9th annual East Avenue Grocery Run will take place this Saturday.

The Grocery Run raises money for Rochester-area food pantries and emergency meal programs. Since 2010, this family-friendly event has raised more than $230,000 to feed food-insecure children, seniors and families in our community.

The Grocery Run will start and finish at Third Presbyterian Church at the corner of East Avenue and Meigs Street. More than 1,200 participants are expected to enjoy the downtown course along East Avenue and through the Neighborhood of the Arts.

The 5K event is sponsored by Wegmans and Constellation Brands. The Family Mile event is sponsored by Marathon Financial.

After the main events, the kids can enjoy the “Boogie for Broccoli” Children’s Fun Run, sponsored by SMP. No registration is required, and everyone gets a Grocery Run ribbon!

Participants are invited to bring a canned food donation for the Foodlink food drive. Each year, we collect more than 1,200 pounds of food to honor the memory of Foodlink founder, Tom Ferraro. Donors are eligible to win raffle prizes.

Runners, walkers, volunteers and spectators will gather afterward to enjoy snacks and beverages donated by local restaurants. This is awesome party is sponsored by Mobile

Anesthesiologists of Western, NY and SCI Anesthesia.

Learn more at

Schedule of Events

7:00 Registration and Packet Pickup at Third Presbyterian Church – 4 Meigs Street in Rochester

8:15 5K Run & Walk

9:15 1-Mile Run & Walk

9:15 Children’s Fun Runs

Award Ceremony to follow

2017 Beneficiaries:

A Meal and More
Cameron Community Ministries Daily Hot Lunch and Food Pantry
East High School Food and Resource Pantry
Foodlink Backpack Program
Gates Presbyterian Church
Greece Ecumenical Food Shelf
Irondequoit Community Cupboard
Mary’s Place Refugee Outreach Center
Messiah Lutheran Church
Penfield Food Cupboard
Riverside Neighbors
St. Thomas Episcopal Hunger Program
South Wedge Food Program
Third Presbyterian Church Food Cupboard and Dining Room
Webster Community Chest Food Cupboard
West Bloomfield Congregational Church

Foodlink’s apple-slicing line adds a second shift

Responding to the growing demand for healthy, ready-to-eat snack foods, Foodlink’s Value-Added Processing Center has added a second shift to ramp up its apple-slicing operations. 

On Oct. 9, the Foodlink Community Kitchen launched a second shift, which allows its automated apple-slicing line to now operate from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. (including time spent setting up the equipment, staff breaks, and clean up). The increased activity will allow Foodlink staff to produce — on average — 100 cases of sliced apples per day. There are typically 4-5 slices per 2.5-oz bag, and 100 bags per case. 

Foodlink began slicing apples in 2012, soon after a study was published that indicated children were much more likely to eat apples if they were pre-sliced. Foodlink sliced apples manually for four years in its former kitchen on Joseph Avenue, before moving into its new space in 2017. The expansion allowed Foodlink to invest in an automated line. Today, it is an official New York Grown & Certified facility, and Foodlink purchases apples exclusively from local farms in western New York, predominantly Wayne County — one of the highest apple-producing counties in the nation.

Foodlink slices its branded apples, but also recent secured a contract for a private label (Zee Zee’s) from National Food Group (NFG), a company that provides apple products to schools through USDA entitlements. 

Red Nose Day Fund awards grants to entire Feeding America network

The Red Nose Day fund announced its latest cycle of grant recipients this month, which included a $10,000 award to Foodlink. 

Foodlink has received steady support from Red Nose Day in recent years, primarily to help purchase much-needed supplies for the Foodlink Community Kitchen, which serves more than 1 million meals annually to at-risk children in Rochester. 

This year, Red Nose Day raised sufficient funds to support member grants for 100 percent of the Feeding America network of member food banks, which means 200 food banks were awarded $10,000 each.

Last year’s grant award enabled Foodlink to purchase numerous supplies to help us continue to provide optimal service to our partner meal sites and the students they serve. Supplies included: pans, warming pellets, steamers, a hand truck, cutting boards and coolers. We also purchased milk that we inserted into “Blizzard Bags,” supplementary meals that sites could already have on site in case a weather emergency prevented our fleet from delivering meals. 

Foodlink’s Curbside Market awarded significant grant by the USDA

A significant grant from the United States Department of Agriculture will allow for the continued growth and expansion of the Curbside Market – Foodlink’s mobile farmers market that visits underserved communities throughout the Rochester region.

The USDA’s Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP) announced funding in late September for 44 projects totaling more than $13.4 million. Foodlink’s project, titled “Farms to Families: Promoting local foods and healthy futures through mobile markets,” was awarded $481,090 for a three-year period – one of the largest programmatic grants received in Foodlink’s 40-year history. Foodlink applied for an LFPP grant with the goal of becoming the nation’s first mobile vendor for the USDA’s Women, Infants & Children (WIC) program, which supports low-income mothers and young children who are found to be at nutritional risk.

SCHEDULE: Curbside Market fall routes

USDA: Full list of LFPP project winners

“We’re grateful that the USDA recognized our Curbside Market as an upstream solution to not only building healthier communities, but as a means to support our local agricultural economy, as well,” said Foodlink President & CEO Julia Tedesco. “Foodlink strives to make the healthy choice the easy choice for those whom we serve, and through this generous grant, we’ll be able to strengthen Curbside’s impact and open up new markets for local farmers.”

Currently, the Curbside Market predominantly sells fresh produce at affordable prices in low-income communities where access to healthy food is limited. As a WIC vendor, the Curbside Market eventually would be able to sell more types of products, and reach more young families in need of healthy, local foods.

“Since we launched five years ago, the Curbside Market has effectively attracted and incentivized customers who use SNAP benefits,” said Mitch Gruber, Foodlink’s Chief Programs Officer. “With WIC, we see a vital opportunity for growth, and through the USDA’s support, Foodlink can begin to offer more healthy food retail options for young mothers and children in our communities.”

The Curbside Market operates year-round, stopping at sites such as federally qualified health centers, low-income housing facilities, and senior and rec centers throughout Rochester and six surrounding counties. The market made more than 32,000 transactions in 2017, with total sales exceeding $216,000, and is on pace to surpass both marks this year. 

“We are proud that we are able to offer a wide variety of healthy — and local — products and produce to our customers, said Florence Clemmons, Foodlink’s Curbside Market Manager. “This grant will be a blessing to our loyal shoppers and we are thrilled to now have the opportunity to diversify our product offering.”

Foodlink will direct funds toward staffing costs associated with the planned expansion, as well as a new vehicle capable of handling and displaying more products.