Citizens Bank Chairman/CEO Bruce Van Saun, in Rochester for a organizational Town Hall meeting at the Marriott on West Ridge Road, jumped aboard the newest Curbside Market vehicle on Thursday.
Citizens Bank has supported the program, known as a “produce aisle on wheels,” since its inception in 2013. It presented Foodlink with a check for $25,000, which partially funded the newest vehicle in the Curbside Market’s fleet. Some of that funding will also help kickstart Foodlink’s new workforce development program later this year.
The new truck has already visited a few sites, and will be running full-time when the Curbside Market’s summer schedule begins on July 5.
The Curbside Market began with one route in the City of Rochester in 2013 and close to 3,500 customers. Now, there are three trucks on the road making stops in eight of the 10 counties in Foodlink’s service area — reaching close to 30,000 customers annually. In 2016, the program made $195,000 in sales and distributed 341,500 pounds of produce.
Its goal is to bring fresh fruits and vegetables into communities dubbed “food deserts” — those that lack grocery stores, farmers markets and/or any reliable access to produce. Food is purchased from local farms and sold at wholesale prices, and the truck makes stops at places such as low-income housing complexes, health centers, senior-living facilities and YMCAs. The program also accepts SNAP benefits (formerly called “food stamps”), and allows SNAP customers to get double the value through a national incentive program called Double Up Food Bucks.