Goya’s ‘Can Do’ campaign delivers large donation to Foodlink

A Goya Foods truck pulls into Foodlink’s distribution center on Monday, March 19, 2018.

A truckload of products from Goya Foods arrived at Foodlink’s distribution center on Monday, a large donation earmarked as part of the company’s “Can Do” campaign in partnership with Feeding America. 

The donation totaled 34,580 pounds, which is the equivalent to nearly 29,000 meals. It was made in the name of Goya retailer, Tops Friendly Markets, as part of the first installment of the 1.5 million pounds of food (1.25 million meals) raised over the course of six months that will go to Feeding America and distributed to local food banks across the country.

“We’re incredibly grateful to receive this donation from Goya,” said Foodlink Executive Director Julia Tedesco. “Through our network of dedicated partner agencies, Foodlink will ensure this food ends up on the tables of thousands of food-insecure individuals and families throughout our region who rely on the emergency food system.”

Representatives from Foodlink, Tops Friendly Markets and Goya Foods pose for a photo after the delivery was made.

More than 20 types of Goya products arrived, including numerous types of rice and beans, tomato sauce, peas and vienna sausage. Foodlink is always looking to diversify the products it offers to its member agencies that serve the need in their communities. An array of ethnically diverse foods was a welcomed sight for our staff.  

Goya’s ‘Can Do’ campaign is a yearlong series of consumer product promotions that was launched in June 2017 and ends June 2018. Each month throughout the course of the year, Goya has featured a different product that consumers can purchase to participate in the overall donation. For every GOYA® product purchased during the designated month, Goya will donate additional products to Feeding America.

Founded in 1936, Goya Foods, Inc. is America’s largest Hispanic-owned food company.

A few of the pallets of donated Goya products that were delivered to Foodlink on March 19.

Foodlink, fellow food bankers make advocacy trip to Albany

Food bankers from across the state assembled in Albany on March 13 to speak with legislators about their priorities for the upcoming budget.

Two representatives from Foodlink made the trip to Albany on March 13 to join fellow food bankers and other community partners to discuss legislation and anti-hunger priorities for the next state budget.

Foodlink’s Mark Dwyer and Meg Demment met with the offices of: Assemblyman David DiPietro (147th District, which includes Wyoming County), Assemblyman Harry Bronson (138th District, which includes parts of Rochester and Monroe County), Senator Pamela Helming (54th District, which includes parts of Wayne, Monroe, Ontario and Seneca counties), and Senator Rich Funke (55th District, which includes parts of Monroe and Ontario counties).

Food bankers from the Southern Tier, Long Island, New York City, Central NY and Western NY joined Foodlink for the trip, which was organized by our Food Bank Association of New York State. Our main priorities included: 

  • Support of the Food Rescue and Recycling Act, which would require large food waste generators (2,000+ lbs per week) to donate edible food, and compost and send inedible food to an anaerobic digestor. 
  • Support for the governor’s No Student Goes Hungry proposal, which includes a ban on lunch-shaming, expansion of the Farm-to-School program, establishing Breakfast After the Bell policy at high-need schools, increasing the school meal reimbursement rate for districts who emphasize local ingredients, and the establishment of food pantries at SUNY and CUNY campuses. 
  • Request the reinstatement of COLA (Cost of Living Allowance) funding for the Hunger Prevention and Nutrition Assistance Program.

From left, Richard Schrader from the Natural Resources Defense Council, Mark Dwyer from Foodlink, Sen. Pamela Helming (54th District), and Meg Demment from Foodlink.

Snow storm impacts Foodlink programs and services

A few weather-related announcements, regarding the winter storm that’s hit our region on March 2:
(Updated at 7:40 a.m.)
– All of our food bank’s scheduled routes have been canceled (We had deliveries scheduled for Seneca and Wayne counties). We are working to reschedule them for next week.
– All Shop Thru agency appointments are canceled.
– The Curbside Market and Mobile Pantry stops scheduled for today are canceled.
– Volunteer shifts are canceled. 
– We’ve been told that today’s 2018 Forks and Skis event at Bristol Mountain, scheduled for Noon to 6 p.m. is still on. We’re encouraging people to stay safe and take their time getting there.
– Our kitchen is delivering to meal sites that remain open.
– Foodlink’s offices will remain open, should you need to get in touch with someone on our staff. We will be closing early at 3 p.m.
Thank you for your understanding, and please stay tuned for future announcements. 
Stay safe. 

Foodlink adds new truck to its kitchen fleet

It was an exciting day for Foodlink drivers, who watched as a brand new, 22-foot refrigerated box truck was dropped off at its Mt. Read Boulevard facility on Friday. 

The new truck, a 2018 HINO model 238, will add capacity to the fleet that serves the Foodlink Community Kitchen. Approximately half of Foodlink’s trucks serve the kitchen, while the other half pick up and distribute food for the food bank. 

Conway Beam Leasing custom-built the truck for Foodlink from the ground up. Fleet Manager David Dukes was eager to see the new vehicle, and wanted to recognize Conway’s Brandon Piccarreto, Leasing Representative, and Ed Dunlop, Western NY Director of Operations, for their help with this build.

The truck will hit the road on Monday, delivering meals produced by the Community Kitchen to meal sites at various after-school programs across Rochester. 


Bills’ ‘Tackle Hunger’ campaign yields 23,000 cans of soup for regional food banks

The long-awaited postseason appearance is what mattered most to local Bills’ fans this year. 

For local food banks, the regular season wasn’t bad, either. 

Thanks to another successful “Tackling Hunger with the Buffalo Bills” campaign, the team, in partnership with Tops Friendly Markets and Campbell’s Chunky soup, donated 23,040 cans of soup to the Food Bank of WNY, Foodlink, the Food Bank of CNY and the Food Bank of the Southern Tier. 

The Bills pledge to donate 20 cans for every tackle made … and the Bills’ defense racked up 1,016 during the regular season this year (20,320). To celebrate the great season the Bills had, Campbell’s added nearly 3,000 extra cans to the total. 

The soup delivery was made at the Food Bank of WNY’s distribution center on Feb. 16, and they will work with other food banks to deliver each share across the state. 

“Helping to eradicate hunger is a core part of our community mission at Tops,” said Frank Curci, Tops Markets chairman of the board and CEO.  “This program was a true partnership and it allowed us to move one step closer to that goal. I want to thank the Buffalo Bills and Campbell’s Soup Company for sharing that same mission.”

Food Bank of WNY staff welcome in the donation during a Feb. 16 event.

Foodlink excited to partner with Three Heads Brewing for Be Kind Festival

Ray Mahar, left, is one of Foodlink’s Curbside Market drivers. His band, A Girl Named Genny, will perform at the Be Kind Festival Feb. 16.

In an effort to help build a “kinder Rochester,” Three Heads Brewing is hosting the inaugural “Be Kind Festival and Benefit Show.”

The event on Feb. 16 will benefit three local non-profits: Foodlink, Sojourner House at PathStone and Camp Stomping Ground. Foodlink is the regional food bank that provides food to agencies throughout a 10-county region and targets the root causes of food insecurity through dozens of food-related programs and a state-of-the-art commercial kitchen. Sojourner House at PathStone serves homeless women and children by providing housing, self-sufficiency skills, and education programs. Camp Stomping Ground is an overnight camp dedicated to empathy, self-direction, and possibility located in the Catskill Mountains outside of Binghamton.

“Three Heads has always strived to give back whenever possible to make Rochester a better place,” said Three Heads Co-founder Geoff Dale. “When the opportunity came up to host an event that would help generate revenue for multiple groups doing just that, we jumped at it. We are honored to be a part of this event and to be working with such incredible people and organizations.”

The event asks attendees to make a $10 donation at the door and will feature a raffle, catered food from Foodlink’s Community Kitchen and live music from A Girl Named Genny. Doors open at 6 p.m.

“Stomping Ground’s mission is to empower the next generation of leaders to be kind and empathetic,” said Camp Co-director Laura Kriegel. “We think that the best way to do that is to include everyone no matter their finances. This event will help us give access to families who would have never considered summer camp as an option.”

For more information, visit: www.bekindfestival.org.


Who: Three Heads Brewing, Foodlink, Camp Stomping Ground and Sojourner House

What: Be Kind Festival and Benefit Show

Where: 186 Atlantic Ave., Rochester

When: Friday, Feb. 16; 6 – 10 p.m.

Foodlink awarded ‘Farm-to-School’ grant funding from NYS

Foodlink learned on Jan. 5 that it was one of 12 organizations to receive “Farm to School” grant funding through New York State’s Department of Agriculture and Markets.

The $98,000 award will be used to purchase equipment for our Value-Added Processing Center, where we slice thousands of apples daily and work with distributors to provide healthy snacks for local schools. Funding also will be used to bolster staffing and allow us to obtain the next level of certification necessary to expand our operations. 

>> Read the full press release from the governor’s office

Foodlink was one of two organizations in the Finger Lakes region to receive funding — the other being Seneca Cornell Cooperative Extension, which received $89,442. 

“This investment continues our efforts to help our youngest New Yorkers learn healthy eating habits while also supporting the state’s agricultural industry,” Governor Cuomo said. “The program is a win-win for our communities and with $1 million awarded to projects across the state, we are helping to create a stronger, healthier New York.”

Other highlights from the governor’s press release:

  • The Farm-to-School program helps Kindergarten through Grade 12 schools connect with local farmers, increase the use of locally grown food on school menus, improve student health, and educate young people about agriculture. 
  • The projects will benefit 219,471 students in seven regions across the state.
  • The program also supports the expansion of the NY Thursdays Program, a school meal initiative that uses local, farm-fresh foods on Thursdays throughout the school year.
  • This is the third round of funding awarded. In his 2018 State of the State this week, Governor Cuomo proposed doubling the state’s investment in the program to $1.5 million.

Foodlink services impacted by plunging temps

UPDATE (Friday, 8:50 a.m.):

The Barakah Muslim Charity (584 Jefferson Ave) Mobile Pantry site scheduled for SATURDAY has canceled due to the expected weather conditions. As of this time, the other distribution scheduled for Livonia remains open. 

> January Mobile Pantry schedule


Thursday, 9:45 p.m.

Due to the dangerous weather conditions expected on Friday, Foodlink is canceling all food bank deliveries. The one remaining Mobile Pantry site (Cross Creek Church in Macedon) is canceled, as well. (Lyndonville Presbyterian had already canceled its scheduled food distribution earlier this week.)

Our kitchen’s meal deliveries, however, will go forward for any programs that remain open in the City of Rochester. Foodlink is taking extra precautions to ensure the safety of its drivers amid these challenging conditions. 

Foodlink’s Curbside Market program, which was was already scheduled to be off this week, will begin its winter schedule on Monday (weather permitting).

Foodlink’s offices are open on Friday. Feel free to contact us at 585-328-3380 with any questions or concerns. Those in need of food should call 2-1-1 to learn about agencies and additional resources in their neighborhood.


Foodlink offers full support of state’s No Student Goes Hungry Program

Bags of locally sourced sliced apples in Foodlink’s Value-Added Processing Center.


Foodlink Executive Director Julia Tedesco released the following statement regarding Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 2018 State of the State, which includes a proposal for the No Student Goes Hungry Program:

“Foodlink fully supports the governor’s No Student Goes Hungry Program. Proper nutrition plays a fundamental role in the success of all students — from kindergarten through college – and contributes to the health and wealth of our region. We laud the policy changes that address lunch-shaming and expand opportunities for greater school breakfast participation. We are excited to continue our Value-Added Processing initiatives to bring more local products into public schools. In addition, we support Governor Cuomo’s belief that food pantries belong on every CUNY and SUNY campus across the state, and believe that our partnership with MCC can serve as a model for others to replicate.

“Foodlink is eager to collaborate with Governor Cuomo on these programs, and will continue to serve the Rochester community through its many innovative, anti-hunger initiatives.”


Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivers his 2018 State of the State address Jan. 3, 2018 in Albany.

The No Student Goes Hungry Program is outlined below, and was originally announced Dec. 28, 2017 as the 15th proposal of Cuomo’s 2018 State of the State:

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today unveiled the 15th proposal of the 2018 State of the State: launch a comprehensive program to provide students of all ages, backgrounds and financial situations access to healthy, locally-sourced meals from kindergarten through college. There are nearly 2.7 million New Yorkers, including almost 1 million children, who do not have consistent access to the food they need to live an active, healthy life. The Governor’s No Student Goes Hungry Program includes investments to expand the Farm to School program, legislation to expand access to free breakfast and put an end to lunch shaming, and policy changes to ensure students in kindergarten through college receive access to farm-fresh foods in a quality learning environment.

“No child should ever go hungry, and by launching the No Student Goes Hungry Program, New York will ensure hundreds of thousands of students of all ages will receive access to free and reduced-price meals,” Governor Cuomo said. “This program is essential to the success of future New York leaders and this administration remains committed to removing barriers to healthy food options, while providing a supportive, effective learning environment for students across this great state.”

Child hunger is often associated with lower grades, higher rates of absenteeism, repeating a grade, and an inability to focus among students, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For many children, the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program offer the best opportunity to receive a regular nutritious meal. Yet, while nearly 60 percent of students in New York public schools are currently eligible to receive a free or reduced-price breakfast at school, only 34 percent of these students eat breakfast on any given day, according to the New York State Education Department.

By launching the No Student Goes Hungry Program, the state will provide students in need with locally-grown, quality meals, which will support an improved learning experience for children of all ages.

The Governor’s No Student Goes Hungry five-point plan is as follows:

Ban Lunch Shaming Statewide

Lunch shaming is a disgraceful practice in some schools where children are publicly humiliated in front of their peers by adults for not having money for lunch. In many cases, these students are forced to wear a sticker or bracelet, or have their name called over the loud speaker. In other cases, these students are given alternative, lesser quality lunches, such as a cold cheese sandwich when other students get hot lunches. Other national news reports have reported children simply being denied food if they cannot pay. 

The Governor will propose a law that when passed, would immediately end the practice of lunch shaming of any kind. First, it will prohibit any public act to humiliate a student who cannot afford lunch. Second, it will ban alternative lunches and require students to receive the same lunch as others starting in the 2018-19 school year.  

Require Breakfast “After the Bell”

High-need schools in New York are required to offer breakfast, but current law allows flexibility when it is offered. Therefore, many offer meals in only a limited time frame, which may be before buses arrive, making it inaccessible for many students.

In order to allow students to have breakfast and to prevent them from going hungry during morning classes, Governor Cuomo will propose requiring schools with more than 70 percent of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch to provide breakfast after the school day has begun for the next school year. In successful breakfast after the bell programs, schools can either serve breakfast in the classroom, or offer nutritious vending machines options to ensure that students have access to breakfast as they start their day. In the city of Newburgh, where Breakfast After the Bell was implemented during the 2015-16 school year, schools have seen their breakfast participation rates increase by more than 100 percent.

To ease the transition, the state will provide technical assistance and capital funds for equipment such as coolers and vending machines to support breakfast after the bell. An estimated $7 million in capital funds will support expanded breakfast for 1,400 schools.

Expand the Farm to School Program

New York will double the state’s investment in the Farm to School program to support the use of healthy, local, New York foods in school districts across the state. The Farm to School program was created to connect schools with local farmers and offers technical assistance and capacity in the school to source products locally to help schools provide students with nutritious meals from food produced by local farms. Previous rounds of funding for this program have increased access to healthy, farm-fresh food for 324,000 students. This funding can be used for capital costs to support transporting and storing locally produced food, and to hire farm-to-school coordinators and trainings for crops and food preparation.

Governor Cuomo proposes doubling the state’s investment to add an $750,000 for a total of $1.5 million in Farm to School projects. If passed, the program would serve an estimated total of 18 projects and 328,000 additional students, bringing the estimated total number of students served to 652,000.

Increase the Use of Farm-Fresh, Locally Grown Foods at School

Lack of healthy, nutritious food can impair a child’s ability to concentrate and perform well in school. It is also often linked to higher levels of behavioral and emotional problems for children in preschool through adolescence, according to American Academy of Pediatrics. Therefore, incorporation of nutritious, locally grown foods supports healthy eating habits and is critical to the development of children. However, for a variety of reasons, including cost, many school districts are not offering healthier locally-sourced options.

To incentivize school districts to use more local farm-fresh products, Governor Cuomo will propose an increase in the reimbursement schools receive for lunches from the current 5.9 cents per meal to 25 cents per meal for any district that purchases at least 30 percent ingredients from New York farms. This is a win-win for students as well as New York’s local farms. 

Require Food Pantries on All SUNY and CUNY Campuses

Hunger on Campus, a report and survey done by several national campus organizations, found that 48 percent of survey respondents experienced food insecurity in the last 30 days. The same report also found that 55 percent of the respondents with food insecurity did not buy a textbookTo ensure consistent healthy food options are available to young adults on college campuses, the Governor will require all SUNY and CUNY schools to either provide physical food pantries on campus, or enable students to receive food through a separate arrangement that is stigma-free. The Governor proposes a $1 million state investment for schools to implement the program.

In 2009, fewer than 10 campus food pantries existed at private and state colleges nationwide, and as of 2017, more than 570 currently exist. Only about half of all SUNY and CUNY campuses have food pantries currently in place. If a campus offers students access to quality, affordable food options through an arrangement with an outside food bank, delivery and distribution must be included.

New York State would be the first state to require every public campus to have a food pantry.