Community mobilizes to move Foodlink volunteer operations to new facility

Foodlink on Friday relocated volunteer operations from the Rochester Riverside Convention Center to 2600 Manitou Road. Monroe County and United Way of Greater Rochester rallied local organizations to support the relocation, including Wegmans and the Teamsters Local 118, Greater Rochester Enterprise and Acquest Realty.

“Opening up the Convention Center will allow our community to have the space and flexibility necessary should we need to move quickly to expand capacity for our healthcare providers,” said County Executive Bello. “We are so grateful to Wegmans, the Teamsters Local 118 and others for working quickly to help Foodlink move to a safe, spacious place to continue its critical operations.”

“Having access to a spacious, off-site facility where volunteers can safely pack food to meet the increased need in our communities has been critical to our COVID-19 Response efforts,” said Julia Tedesco, President & CEO of Foodlink. “This could not have happened without the support from so many. Collaborating with United Way, Monroe County, Wegmans, the Teamsters Local 118, Greater Rochester Enterprise, Acquest Realty and others helps ensure we can put food on the table for thousands of families in the Rochester region during this difficult time.”

More than 500 volunteers have assisted Foodlink at the Convention Center since mid-March. During the nearly four weeks in the space, Foodlink volunteers packed more than 10,000 bags of food for its BackPack Program, and 30,000 emergency food supply boxes that were distributed through Foodlink’s existing network of more than 100 hunger-relief partners, and at 24 drive-thru food distributions throughout our region.

“This crisis has brought to the forefront the power of what good can happen when we work together, unified in new and different ways,” says Jaime Saunders, president and CEO of United Way of Greater Rochester. “Within 48 hours so many partners came together to support Foodlink from our United Way team to Monroe County staff to drivers at Wegmans and the Teamsters – all to ensure community needs continued to be met without disruption.”

“We are so thankful for all our employees who continue to rise to the occasion to serve, inspire, and care for our communities during this difficult time,” said Linda Lovejoy, Wegmans community relations manager. “We are proud to come together with others in our community to help with the incredible efforts of these organizations.”

“This community is strong, resilient, and determined, and we’re much stronger when we work together,” said Paul Markwitz, President of Teamsters Local 118. “The Teamsters are proud to utilize our resources and skills to help our community overcome the impacts of this pandemic.”

Foodlink will open up new volunteer shifts next week through the United Way volunteer portal to help pack bags for its BackPack Program, and assemble the next round of 10,000 emergency food supply boxes for food-insecure households throughout our region.

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