About Us


Our Mission

Our mission is to end hunger and to leverage the power of food to build a healthier community.

Our Vision

Our vision is a healthy, hunger-free community.

About Foodlink

Foodlink is a regional food hub and the Feeding America food bank serving Allegany, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming, and Yates Counties.  Our operations target the root causes of hunger.  We do this by distributing food to a network of human service agencies, serving meals through our commercial kitchen, and offering more than 30 food-related programs.   In 2015, Foodlink distributed nearly 19 million pounds of food—including 4.6 million pounds of produce, offered more than 200 nutrition education courses, and created new access points for healthy foods in underserved communities. Our innovative approach directly addresses health disparities related to food insecurity.

1 in 7 Americans are hungry—including more than 1 in 5 children.

The good news is that we can do something about this. And at Foodlink, we are. By orchestrating a complex system of food recovery, storage, and distribution, we are doing something very simple: feeding our neighbors.

The state of hunger in Central and Western New York:

  • 36% of clients served by Foodlink are children; 5% are elderly
  • 26% of client households include at least one employed adult
  • 82% of client households have incomes below the federal poverty level
  • 30% of client households report having at least one member in poor health
  • 23% of clients had to choose between paying for food and paying for medicine or medical care
  • 50% of clients are White; 37% are Black; 11% are Hispanic; 2% are from other racial groups

For local food insecurity rates from Map the Meal Gap 2015, click here.





feeding america logo

 About Feeding America:

Feeding America is a nationwide network of 200 food banks that leads the fight against hunger in the United States. Together, we provide food to more than 46 million people through food pantries and meal programs in communities throughout America. Feeding America also supports programs that improve food security among the people we serve; educates the public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Individuals, charities, businesses and government all have a role in ending hunger. Donate. Volunteer. Advocate. Educate.  Together we can solve hunger. Visit


Food Banking

The Foodlink food bank works with area food retailers, manufacturers, and wholesalers to acquire, sort, store, and redistribute food to our member programs, namely soup kitchens, shelters, and emergency food pantries. In addition, Foodlink provides food to hundreds of non-emergency programs such as group homes and senior centers, helping non-profits agencies save vital dollars on their food budget so their scarce resources can be redirected to their programs.

From here to there


Food Flow Diagram


Most of the food we distribute comes from manufacturers, food drives, growers, packers, processors, retailers such as Wegmans Food Markets, and the USDA.


We safely acquire, handle, store, and redistribute food.


Food Pantries provide clients with free food.

Shelters provide food to their residents, often times the homeless, or abused women and children.

Soup Kitchens provide prepared meals to hungry people.

Other Feeding Sites such as after-school programs, rec centers, senior centers, and summer lunch sites.

*All Foodlink member agencies are 501(c)3 nonprofits


About 200,000 people in our region rely on food from the Foodlink network each year. This is why we come to work each day.

Interested in becoming a Foodlink member agency?

Membership Criteria

Our Foodlink member agencies are non-profit organizations that provide assistance to people in need in our 10-county service area of Central and Western New York. The network includes both emergency programs such as food pantries, soup kitchens and emergency shelters, and non-emergency programs such as group homes, after-school, day care, senior center, and BackPack programs.

To become a member, first please review our membership criteria.  If you are an emergency food organization (pantry, soup kitchen, shelter), please contact Laura Sugarwala at (585) 413-413-4079 or  If you are a non-emergency food organization (daycare, group home, senior center), please contact Phil Daniel at (585) 413-4056 or

strategic plan

Foodlink Role & History

160 million pounds of food and counting.

Fighting hunger and fueling communities since 1978.
Foodlink: A Look Back


  • 1978 – As an employee of Action for a Better Community, Tom Ferraro “rescues” Thomas English Muffins (enough to fill a school bus!)
  • 1979 – Genesee Valley Regional Food Clearinghouse (GVRFC) begins partnership with Wegmans Food Markets
  • 1980 – Tom helps found the national food bank network, today known as Feeding America
  • 1983 – GVRFC incorporates as an independent charity
  • 1988 – Wegmans donates a building on West Avenue to GVRFC to greatly expand warehouse space
  • 1991 – GVRFC is renamed Foodlink 
  • 1993 – Foodlink begins one of the first Kids Cafe programs in the nation
  • 1999 – Foodlink moves to 936 Exchange Street, donated by the Kolko Family
  • 2001 – Foodlink establishes a Community Kitchen, known today as Freshwise Kitchen, to raise the bar of institutional food service
  • 2008 – Foodlink proudly celebrates 30 years
  • 2011 – Foodlink becomes a lead partner with Share Our Strength in the national Cooking Matters program
  • 2012 – Foodlink headquarters moves to 1999 Mt Read Boulevard
  • 2014- Foodlink founder and visionary Tom Ferraro passes away
  • 2014- Julia Tedesco and Jeanette Batiste are named Co-Executive Directors

It all started with some English muffins

Foodlink’s initial roots started in 1976, when our Executive Director, Tom Ferraro, was working at Action for a Better Community and received funding as a Community Food and Nutrition Program (CFNP).

 In 1978, Tom went on a local news show to make a community-wide appeal for food to support the growing number of emergency food pantries in the area. He received a call for a food donation from the warehouse manager at Thomas English Muffins. The next morning, Tom arrived at the warehouse in his station wagon to pick up the muffins only to discover he’d actually need a tractor-trailer to haul away the generous donation. Since he didn’t have access to a truck, Tom borrowed a school bus—and filled it completely!

And thus the Genesee Valley Regional Food Clearinghouse, later the Genesee Valley Food Bank, was created with the mission to rescue and redistribute food from manufacturers, retailers, and other donors to human service organizations. In 1992, the Genesee Valley Food bank changed its name to Foodlink.

Foodlink today

Foodlink now serves a 10-county area in the Genesee Valley and Finger Lakes Region of Upstate New York. We rescue and redistribute over 19 million pounds of food annually to a network of 500 programs. As a founding member of Feeding America, formerly America’s Second Harvest, Foodlink is part of a national network of 200 food banks.

Today, the Foodlink’s regional network of agencies serves 15 million meals annually to an estimated 200,000 different people. Since its founding, Foodlink has distributed over 160 million pounds of food—that translates into over $125 million worth of food for our community.


Foodlink’s only leader was Tom Ferraro until his passing in February 2014. He was often quoted as saying, “Don’t think outside the box. Live outside the box.” His legacy lives on through 30 food-related programs that address the root causes of hunger. Today, Julia Tedesco is ensuring that Foodlink continues the high-level of operational efficiency, innovative anti-hunger programming, and community collaboration for which it is known.

Executive Director - Julia Tedesco

julia headshotJulia Tedesco is a Rochester native, and has served the organization as its Chief Development and
Communications Officer since 2009. As CDO, Tedesco built and led a Development and Community Relations Department that now raises more than $3.8 million annually for the organization. She oversaw the growth of nutrition education and food literacy programming, as well as the implementation of innovative food access programs that have gained national recognition. In addition, Tedesco has been responsible for leading strategic organizational development initiatives and directing Foodlink’s anti-hunger advocacy and public policy efforts both locally and nationally. Tedesco is a graduate of Syracuse University’s Maxwell School, where she received her Master of Public Administration degree.

Tedesco was a key player in overseeing the relocation of Foodlink’s headquarters and distribution facility in 2012, and will continue to lead the organization’s transition to an innovative food hub focused on ending hunger, building community health, and fostering economic development.

Foodlink Inc. Board of Directors

Board Officers

Matthew Ray, Board Chair
Vice President, M&T Bank

Alyssa Whitfield, Board Co-Vice Chair
Founder & Executive Director, Dress for Success Rochester

Arline Santiago, Board Co-Vice Chair
General VP and General Counsel, ESL Federal Credit Union

Kimberli Johnston, Board Treasurer
Chief Financial Officer, Epilepsy-PRALID, Inc.

Joseph Casion, Board Secretary
Partner, Harter, Secrest & Emery, LLP

Board Members

Patrick Bourcy
Sr. Vice President, Rochester/Southern Tier, Wegmans

Julie Camardo-Steron 
President, Zweigle’s, Inc.

Dr. Rick Constantino, M.D. 
Internal Medicine, Rochester Regional Health System

Adrian Cosma 
Associate Director of Corporate Relations, Simon Business School, University of Rochester

Patricia Gottry-Tobin 
Community Activist

Minister Earlvin Greene 
Community Development Specialist, FLPRC DePaul

Ronald Little 
Senior Vice President Finance, Heritage Christian Services

Thomas Kane 
Chief Human Resources Officer, Constellation Brands, Inc.

Mark Kolko 
Retired, President, Power Equipment Co. Sr.

Beth LeValley, SSJ 
Community Activist, Sisters of St. Joseph

Colin Sheridan 
President, Germanow-Simon Companies

Samantha Tassone 
President, GrowthFuel

Foodlink Foundation Board of Governors

Board Officers

Mr. George Wiedemer, Board Chair
Former Penfield Town Supervisor

Ms. Peg Havens, Board Vice-Chair
Field Marketing Director, Time Warner Cable Business Class

Mr. Mort Kolko, Board Treasurer

Mr. James Grossman, Board Secretary 
Partner, Barclay Damon, LLC.

Board Members

Mr. Loren Flaum
Vice President Finance, Flaum Management Company, Inc.

Mr. Jack Montague

Mr. Fernando Santiago 
Partner, Santiago Burger Annechino LLP

Mr. John Smith 
President, Total Information

Remembering Tom Ferraro

Remembering Tom Ferraro, founder and late Executive Director of Foodlink.

Thomas C. Ferraro, lifelong anti-hunger advocate, community leader, and visionary entrepreneur who founded Foodlink, one of the nation’s first food banks, died February 11, 2014 of pancreatic cancer.  He was 67.

Tom Ferraro founded Foodlink 36 years ago and was among the first “food bankers” in the nation. He served on the original Feeding America (known then as Second Harvest) Board of Directors, working with his peers to develop the concept of national food banking; he also assisted in the formation of the other seven New York State food banks as well as the creation of the NYS Department of Health’s Hunger Prevention and Nutrition Assistance Program (HPNAP) which provides millions of dollars to hunger relief, food safety, and nutrition education programs each year.

Under Tom’s leadership, Foodlink grew into a 500-member organization distributing more than 18 million pounds of food and resources each year to area soup kitchens, food pantries, shelters, group homes, senior centers, day cares, after-school programs and other non-profit organizations.  Foodlink runs more than 30 unique, food-related programs aimed at ending hunger, improving nutrition, empowering individuals with food literacy, and strengthening the regional food system.

Over the past three decades, Tom moved Foodlink’s focus beyond the symptom of hunger and toward its root causes, by working to build community health and wealth while providing holistic services to those in need. Foodlink goes beyond food banking by focusing on workforce and economic development initiatives, conducting emergency and nonemergency provider trainings to build capacity and ensure safety, emphasizing child nutrition efforts, and offering nutrition, culinary education programs throughout our region. Tom was an entrepreneur in the nonprofit sector, creating two social enterprises and leading the way in innovative initiatives such as urban agriculture, local value-added processing and converting food waste into fuel and nutrient-rich soil.

Tom was the recipient of numerous distinguished community awards, including the Farash Foundation’s Inaugural Farash Prize for Social Entrepreneurship, a prestigious community award aimed at recognizing and rewarding the best innovative approaches to our society’s most pressing problems.  For more on his accomplishments, click here.

Tom is survived by his mother, Marion Ferraro; beloved wife of 20 years Regine Calvar; sons Michael, Philippe and John; granddaughters Victoria and Isabelle; and countless family members, lifelong friends, partners and employees.


Member Services

Food Bank Member Relations

We partner with almost 500 human service organizations in a 10 county region. Foodlink works with both emergency agencies such as food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters as well as non-emergency agencies such as daycares, group homes, and senior centers. Our Member Relations team is here to provide you assistance in all aspects of food sourcing, nutritional output, and hunger-relief tools.

Become a Member Agency

Membership Criteria

Foodlink 101: Helps to answer the questions- What does Foodlink do? Is our program a good fit for membership? How can I receive product from Foodlink?

 Current Member Agencies



 Agency Advisory Council Members

The Agency Advisory Council (AAC) is comprised of representatives from member agencies. The AAC reviews and advises on Foodlink policies and procedures and assists new initiatives and strategic plans. This group meets quarterly.

Roberta Markel, Dept. of Health
David McKechney, HOPE Ministries
Lonnie Kaczka, Catholic Family Center
Roseann Lackey, Charles Settlement House
Debbie Evans, Irondequoit Community Cupboard
Dawn Rockefeller, Victor Farmington Food Pantry
Suzanne Krull, Cuba Cultural Center
Kathy Schlegel, Heritage Christian
Rev. Earl Greene, Newark Church of Christ
Rhonda Pollino, Seneca County House of Concern
Nick Magliocco, Salvation Army
Belinda Knight, ACCORD Corporation
George Schaeffer, Milly’s Pantry
Jeff Lippincott, Zion Fellowship Church
Amy Patterson, Catholic Charities Livingston County
Dominick Lucisano, Hope Lutheran Church
Helen Van Arsdale, Tyre Food Pantry
Michele Siefried, Nunda Food Pantry
Jane Pascoe, Perry Emergency Food Pantry
Foodlink Staff: Julia Tedesco, Robert Janson, Laura Sugarwala, Sheila Williams, Morgan McKenzie, Terra Keller

NEW: Basic Food Safety Training

Now it’s even easier to fulfill the yearly food safety training requirement. You can do the training online. It’s as simple as reviewing the material, taking a quiz, and receiving a certificate. Please allow 45 minutes- 1 hour to review the presentation. This can be self study or a presentation you show staff or volunteers. The quiz is available online or in print. Once your quiz is submitted allow at least 2 weeks for your certificate to arrive.

Pantry Curriculum

Prepared Meal and Non-Emergency Curriculum

Quiz: Online Link

Quiz: Printable

Important Dates & Resources

Register for Foodlink Basic Trainings

Delivery Schedule 2015

Produce Handling Toolkit

Agency Advocacy Resource Guide

HPNAP Nutrition Policies

Dark Green Leafy Vegetable Recipes

Client Choice Handbook

Food Safety Resources

Food Keeper Brochure

Food Keeper Brief

Can Safety

Refrigerator/Freezer Temperature Log

Food Pantry Guidelines

3 Day Pantry Package Items

5 Day Pantry Package Items

HPNAP Materials for Emergency Agencies

Monthly Meal Statistics Worksheet

Member Services Team

Matthew Knaub
Director, Foodbank Operations

Laura Sugarwala
Member Relations Manager, Lead Dietitian

Kim Floeser
Member Relations Senior Associate

Morgan McKenzie
Food Bank Programs Coordinator

Carolyn Stokoe
Member Relations Associate

Phil Daniel
Agency Services Coordinator

Randy Boula
Member Services Supervisor

Sheila Williams
Capacity and Compliance Coordinator

Jose Lopez
Member Services Associate


How does food banking work?

Food is donated to Foodlink through grocery stores, food manufacturers and distributors, and community food drives. We also purchase food in order to offer complements to donated food selections, e.g., pasta and sauce. The food is sorted, collected, and stored at Foodlink. It is then distributed to a network of 500 nonprofit agencies, including food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, day care centers, and elderly care programs.

What is the difference between a food bank and a food pantry?

Many communities have a local “food pantry,” sometimes mistakenly called a “food bank.” Most of these community food pantries are sponsored by local churches or community organizations. A community food pantry’s mission is to “directly” serve local residents who suffer from hunger and food insecurity within a specified area.

A food bank is the clearinghouse for millions of pounds of food and other products that go out to the community. A food pantry functions as the arms that reach out to that community directly. Food banks and food pantries are not the same, however they share the same commitment. At Foodlink, we are proud of our partnership with food pantries and all of the partner agencies that support our mission to end hunger.

What part of New York does Foodlink serve?

Foodlink serves 10 counties in Central and Western New York: Allegany, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming and Yates.

Where does the Foodlink get its food?

Foodlink receives its food from a myriad of sources.  Primarily, we receive food from retailers such as Wegmans, the USDA and purchased product.

What is USDA/TEFAP Product?

The term “USDA” refers to the type of foods available through The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). TEFAP is a federal food distribution program sponsored by The United States Department of Agriculture. USDA-donated foods are distributed at no cost to emergency agencies via Foodlink. A member agency is considered USDA-eligible if it falls under the above definition of an EFP. For more information, contact Agency Services at (585)328.3380 x148.

How much food does the Food Bank provide?

In the fiscal year 2012-2013, the Food Bank distributed 16.7 million pounds of food. Today, the food bank’s network of agencies serve 115,000 meals each week, or a total of more than 6 million meals annually to an estimated 200,000 different people. Since its founding, Foodlink has distributed over 160 million pounds of food that translates into over $125 million worth of food for our community.

Does the Food Bank provide canned food only?

Over half of the food the Food Bank provides is perishable product: fresh produce, protein rich meats and dairy items.

What about all the food that ends up in landfills?

Thanks to partnerships with Wegmans, Target, Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club and BJ’s Wholesale, the Food Bank and its partner agencies rescue over 7 million pounds of retail damage each year, also referred to as salvage, that would otherwise wind up in landfills. These rescued food items are both non-perishable and perishable foods including meats, produce, deli foods, and baked goods.

What is your service area?

Seeking Food Assistance?

Are you an individual in need of food?

If you are in need of food you may visit any of Foodlink’s member organizations for assistance. To find a location closest to you please click on the need food button on the homepage. You may call 2-1-1, Lifeline for information on an emergency food provider near you. They will ask you for your zip code to identify organizations serving your neighborhood.

On your first visit to an emergency food provider, you have the right to be served regardless of proper identification, referral or documentation of need. On future visits, documentation may be required to verify other members of your household and your identity. You will be provided with clear policies and procedures for receiving food by the provider.

As an individual seeking food assistance:

  • You have the right to receive food free of charge.
  • You are not required to give donations, pay, work, or participate in religious services in order to receive food.
  • You have the right to be treated with dignity and respect at all times, and receive food without discrimination against the basis of age, race, family status, gender, disability, religious belief, income or sexual preference.
  • You may refuse any food items that do not meet your dietary or religious standards.
  • The food you receive will meet the local, state and federal standards for food safety.
  • You are not required to provide your Social Security Number in exchange for food.
Contact 211/LIFE LINE by calling 2-1-1 or 1-877-FLNY211 (1-877-356-9211).

  • Genesee County: Regional Action Phone, Inc. (RAP) at 1-800-359-5727
  • Orleans County: Regional Action Phone, Inc. (RAP) at 1-800-889-1903
  • Wyoming County: Regional Action Phone, Inc. (RAP) at 1-800-786-3300
  • Allegany and Yates Counties: Contact 211 Helpline at 2-1-1, or 1-800-346-2211