Community Kitchen: One roof, at last

The welcoming committee created this "family tree" and hung it in the new kitchen staff break room prior to their big move.

The welcoming committee created this “family tree” and hung it in the new kitchen staff break room prior to their big move.

 

Foodlink’s operational headquarters and our commercial kitchen have moved around quite a bit through the years. 

Just not at the same time, and never at the same place. 

That all changed, officially, on Dec. 5 when more than 20 Foodlink kitchen staff members began meal production in their new home at 1999 Mt. Read Blvd. For the first time in history, the kitchen staff will work under the same roof as their food hub colleagues. 

After construction wrapped up on Nov. 18, our staff spent time learning about the new equipment and going through an orientation, which included a tour of the entire facility (offices, warehouse and all), on Dec. 2. 

On Monday, Dec. 5 … it was showtime. 

Breakfast was served before the team's first shift Dec. 5 in their new kitchen.

Breakfast was served before the team’s first shift Dec. 5 in their new kitchen.

“Moving into Foodlink’s new community kitchen was an important day for us,” said Chrys Baldwin, Foodlink’s Director of Kitchen Operations. “With careful planning, we were able to transition without missing a meal delivery to any of our almost 70 community partner locations.”

You read that right. On Friday, we delivered meals to dozens of sites out of our Joseph Avenue kitchen. On Monday, we picked up where we left off at Mt. Read. If you’re familiar with working in an office setting, perhaps you’ve moved cubicles or offices at least once in your life. Maybe you recall the annoyance of emptying drawers, going through old files and packing up personal belongings. Wires, most likely, were everywhere. 

Moving from one commercial kitchen to another (the latter of which is 28,000 square feet), however, is a SLIGHTLY larger endeavor. 

“Our staff was well-prepared and excited about the transition, and the entire Foodlink workforce pitched in to make it all happen,” Baldwin said. “Now the hard work continues as we settle in, learn and get adjusted. It’s an exciting new beginning for Foodlink!”

Although the move represents a significant step forward for our Community Kitchen, the project itself is not complete. So far, we have raised more than $4.4 million of the $4.9 million needed to fully fund the Community Kitchen. Learn about how you can support this project on our website

Once all funding is secured, Foodlink — and the entire Rochester community — can begin to realize the full potential of this facility. We will:

  • Prepare and serve more healthy meals for Rochester’s children
  • Promote economic development through an improved Value-Added Processing program
  • Develop a one-of-a-kind workforce development program aimed at hard-to-place workers interested in culinary training. 

Our “one roof” goal was met on Dec. 5. It was one goal of many associated with this amazing project. We look forward to setting and meeting more in the years to come. 

Employees get prepared for their first shift Dec. 5 inside Foodlink's new Community Kitchen.

Employees get prepared for their first shift Dec. 5 inside Foodlink’s new Community Kitchen.

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