ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) — It’s that time of the year where the Food for Families project is being launched between Foodlink and Tops Friendly Market to help feed people in need.  

The next time you go out grocery shopping at Tops, look for “Brown Bags of Hope.” They’re filled with a variety of foods and when you buy one, the store will send it to Foodlink, who gets it right out to their pantries and on the table of a local family in need.  

The chain begins with those willing to donate on their own, or buy a Brown Bag of Hope from Tops to get fresh produce and other snacks into Foodlink’s main warehouse to distribute across 10 different counties, feeding over 200,000 people each year.  
“We couldn’t do this work without the support of hundreds of other non-profits in this region,” Foodlink Communications Manager Mark Dwyer said. “Doing that direct service and making sure they’re meeting the needs of the client. Serving people dignified and getting people what they need.” 

Collaboration is key. Working with other local non-profits and the USDA, Foodlink coordinates to determine what goods are needed in different zip codes. Then getting it shipped out after a two-step inspection process.  

“We would not be able to function if it were not for Foodlink or our friends in schools, businesses, and churches,” Margaret Oberst, Director of St. Andrews Food Cupboard said. “They coordinate with us and call us asking what we need.”  
Because of this process, all the food bought from Tops in Brown Bags of Hope or donated goes directly to the communities where people in need can get it quickly without transportation barriers in the way.  
“The partnership is very heartening because we know we couldn’t do this by ourselves,” Oberst said. “The partnership also brings us, volunteers, because people hear about this.”  

The main event for all this to be going on through Tops grocery store is Dec. 10. Be sure to find out all the details with where you can go and do your part by tuning into news eight throughout that day.