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Get Involved

Volunteer

Volunteer, and you’re giving more than your time.

You’re giving families, kids, and seniors nourishment they may not otherwise receive. And you’re giving them the hope, confidence, and energy they need to live a richer life.

Volunteer at Foodlink

Every year, more than 10,000 volunteers donate their time or talents to help Foodlink provide support for thousands of low-income residents.  Volunteers are essential at all levels of food bank operations, from sorting and repackaging food to helping at fundraising events. We also utilize more than 100 volunteers to assist with our nutrition education programs.  For more information on nutrition education opportunities, click here. To learn more about other volunteer opportunities (available as individuals or groups), go to www.fingerlakesvolunteer.org.

If you have questions about volunteering at Foodlink, please contact Ethan DeBruyne, Volunteer Relations Coordinator at (585) 328-3380 X160 or edebruyne@foodlinkny.org. 

Finger Lakes Regional Volunteer Center

The Finger Lakes Regional Volunteer Center helps individual volunteers find service opportunities with local non-profit agencies within the region and measure the local impact of volunteer activity for the purpose of sharing and providing this information with New York state for their state-wide initiatives. For more information on how to get your organization involved or any questions about volunteering,  go to www.fingerlakesvolunteer.org or contact Jason Carroll, Volunteer Programs Manager at Foodlink at (585) 328-3380 X169 or jcarroll@foodlinkny.org.

Board of Directors

Foodlink’s Board of Directors is comprised of community leaders who are passionate about our mission and committed to using their unique skill sets to help us reach our goals. The principal responsibility of our board of directors is three-fold:

  • To give Foodlink direction, establishing its vision, mission and values.
  • To provide oversight, especially in financial matters, to ensure accountability.
  • To ensure Foodlink has the resources it needs to do its work.

If you are interested in joining Foodlink’s Board, we recommend that you first serve as a volunteer on one of our board committees.  As a committee member, individuals have a chance to get to know the organization better, and to develop relationships with board members and key staff. After serving on a committee for a year or two, individuals are more equipped to understand the commitment of board service and the leadership culture.

Committees

The role of Foodlink board committees is to ensure best practices in the activities, or the major function, that the committee is assigned to.  Foodlink committees allow volunteers and potential board members to apply their existing expertise or build knowledge in an interest area.  Currently, the Foodlink board has an:

  • Executive Committee
  • Finance Committee
  • Business Development Committee
  • Development/Fundraising Committee.

If you are interested in learning more about becoming a board/committee member, please contact Julia Tedesco at (585)328.3380 x141

Advocacy

Speak up and reach out.

 
Advocacy is critical to fighting hunger, and becoming a hunger relief advocate offers many ways to become active not only in important public policy issues, but also within our community. Being an advocate means communicating with your legislators about hunger issues. It can also simply mean talking with friends and family, posting on social media, and raising awareness about the need for a solution to hunger.
 
We encourage you to join us as a hunger relief advocate today. Look below for our current initiatives and get involved in fighting hunger in our community, in New York, and across America.
 
IDENTIFY YOUR LOCAL REPRESENTATIVES
Emergency Agencies CLICK HERE to access a full list of your NYS representatives.
CLICK HERE to download contact Information for all state representatives in our 10 county service area. 
 
Not sure who your representatives are? Visit these sites and enter your address:
NYS Assembly:
http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/?sh=search
NYS Senate:
http://www.nysenate.gov/senators
 

Foodlink Federal Legislative Priorities Fall 2013

FARM BILL

  • Every five years, Congress is scheduled to pass a comprehensive piece of legislation, commonly called the “Farm Bill.” The Farm Bill sets national agriculture, nutrition, anti-hunger, commodity, conservation, and forestry policies. The last Farm Bill was passed in 2008 and expired in 2012. 
  • Recent Legislative Activity: A partial extension was passed on January 1, 2013 to extend several expiring Farm Bill programs. The Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013 passed the Senate with an overwhelming bipartisan majority of 66-27 in June 2013. The House decided against a comprehensive Farm Bill and passed the Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act in September 2013. The act included the nutrition titles without agriculture related policy and included a $39 billion cut to SNAP.

Anti-Hunger Programs in Farm Bill

The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP)

  • Provides food commodities at no cost to families in need of short-term hunger relief through food banks. The demand for TEFAP remains high across the country; a reliable and continuous stream of TEFAP is critical for emergency food supply. 
  • The USDA purchases these commodities annually for food bank distribution –nearly 20% of all TEFAP commodities are grown in NYS. 
  • All TEFAP product is nutritious and is distributed free of fees to our emergency food network. 
  • TEFAP commodities account for approximately 8% of the 16 million pounds of food distributed annually by Foodlink.
  • Recent TEFAP Related Activity: Food banks across the country, including Foodlink, saw declines in TEFAP funding by nearly 30% in FY2011 and more than 40% in FY2012. FY2013 proved to be difficult for the Secretary of Agriculture to make bonus commodities. These actions left millions of previously allocated dollars unspent and furthered decreases in TEFAP food for food banks across the country.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

  • Formerly known as food stamps, SNAP has enjoyed over four decades of bipartisan support and has helped to ensure vulnerable populations in our community can put food on the table. The program serves as the nation’s first line of defense against hunger however it has encountered a large amount of political turbulence in recent years and is continuously threatened by funding cuts. 
  • SNAP’s responsiveness to unemployment proved it to be one of the most effective safety net programs during the recent recession, providing families with a stable source of food. SNAP lifted 3.9 million Americans above the poverty line in 2011, including 1.7 million children and over 280,000 seniors.
  • SNAP also relieves pressure from Foodlink. The food bank could not meet the need for food assistance if SNAP eligibility or benefits were reduced. More than 60% of our clients are SNAP recipients. This means any cut to SNAP will result in an increase for our services and stretch our resources thin.
  • Foodlink sells more than $500/week in fresh produce to SNAP recipients; a decrease in their SNAP dollars will drastically diminish their opportunity to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables from our food access programs.
  • Foodlink conducts SNAP outreach to assist potential SNAP recipients with pre-screenings and application assistance. Our work alleviates the volume of denied applications processed by the Department of Social Services while streamlining the process for eligible individuals and families. During FY2013, Foodlink held about 40 outreach clinics, assisting in nearly 280 SNAP applications.
  • Recent SNAP Legislation Activity: The Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013 passed in the Senate in June calls for $4.1 billion in SNAP cuts over 10 years. The House passed the Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act in September 2013 with a $39 billion cut to SNAP over 10 years.

DATES TO NOTE:
• September 30 – Farm Bill extension expires.
• October 1 – Fiscal Year 2014 begins.
• November 1 – SNAP benefits decrease by $10 to $15 a month per person, as the result of the cuts made to the program in 2010.

For questions regarding the position of Foodlink on the Farm Bill or any policy issue please contact:
Martha Brown, mbrown@foodlinkny.org or 585-328-3380 x136

New York State Legislative Priorities - 2013

HUNGER PREVENTION NUTRITION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (HPNAP)

  • For more than 25 years, HPNAP has provided funds to support an estimated 2,600 Emergency Food Relief Organizations (EFROs) including food banks, food pantries, soup kitchens and emergency shelters in NYS.
  • HPNAP funds build the organizational capacity and infrastructure of emergency service providers and improve the health of clients by supporting the distribution of more than 195 million meals each year.
  • HPNAP is direct, line-item funding allocation based on 5-year contacts through the Department of Health,
  • Foodlink currently receives over $2 million annually and is currently in year 3 of a 5 year contract. 
  • Recent Legislative Activity: Gov. Cuomo proposed a major restructuring of health program funding in the FY14 Executive by converting HPNAP from a line-item to a block grant; the proposed budget, released in January 2013, included a nearly $13 million decrease in funding. After mobilizing our regional emergency provider network to speak out against the proposal, HPNAP remained a direct, line-item in the FY14 budget.

NYS FRESH CONNECT FARMERS’ MARKET

  • 1.5 million New Yorkers live in areas with limited access to nutritious food.
  • Expanding access to fresh food in underserved communities improves nutrition and lower costs related to obesity and diet-related diseases, while also fostering community and economic development. 
  • The Fresh Connect program also includes Fresh Connect Checks, a rebate incentive that encourages SNAP recipients to use those benefits at farmers’ markets. Fresh Connect Checks initiative provides $2 rebate checks for every $5 in SNAP benefits spent at participating markets.
  • Foodlink was awarded a grant two years in a row to expand the Urban Farm Stand initiative across the City of Rochester.
  • Our 7 days per week food access programs (including Urban Farm Stands & the Curbside Market) have over 40 sites in Rochester. 
  • In 2013, Foodlink sold over 50,000 pounds of local produce -$4,500 in SNAP, $1100 in Fresh Connect Checks, and $2,100 in Farmers Market Nutrition Program (WIC).
  • Foodlink is the highest of any of the non-traditional farmer’s markets in the Fresh Connect Program in sales to individuals on food assistance. 
  • Recent Fresh Connect Related Activity: In 2012, the program expanded to support not only farmers markets, but other creative initiatives aimed increasing access to fresh, locally produced food by low-income or underserved communities including the work of Foodlink.

Coming Up…
• November 1st: SNAP benefits decrease by $10 to $15 a month per person, as the result of the cuts made to the program in 2010. Any decrease in SNAP benefits will increase the demand for Foodlink services and place an additional strain on the emergency food assistance network.

For questions regarding the position of Foodlink on NYS policy issues please contact:
Martha Brown, mbrown@foodlinkny.org or 585-328-3380 x136