ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) —Hundreds of families in Monroe County picked up boxes of food from Foodlink in Rochester, as part of a new state program that connects local farmers with those in need.
30,000 pounds of food, about the weight of an RV, that’s what how much Foodlink gave away on Saturday through a partnership that puts extra food from local farmers on the tables of families in need.
Food Pantries throughout the state, like Foodlink in Rochester, can use The Nourish New York Program to buy Surplus food from upstate farmers.
“So it’s a great opportunity we’re thankful for the partnership with the department of Ag and those farmers that have been able to step forward,” said Terra Keller, chief operating officer Foodlink.
Through a $1 million grant, Foolink purchased apples, cabbage, and dairy products from local farmers, enough to serve the over 400 families that signed up for Saturday’s distribution.
“So in addition to the non perishables our thousand volunteers have been packing over the last ten weeks, we’re able to offer an array of products from local farmers like apples from Kerby farmers, Cabbage from Brightly farm, and milk from upstate,” said Keller.
This solves a two part challenge that has emerged as the pandemic drags on, one the state department of agriculture has been trying to solve.
“One the great need for food from New Yorkers across the state and number two the excess in supply from upstate farmers,” said Dave Valesky, Deputy commissioner New York state dept. of Agriculture and Markets. “So it’s really New Yorkers helping New Yorkers.”
The partnership will not only give farmers a much needed source of income, but will allow Foodlink to keep their other food distributions sites running, as they continue to help those in need.
“At food link, we’re getting into what we’re calling our new normal, and I think while its very different from what life was 10 weeks ago, there’s a lot of positives that have happened from collaboration, community support,” said Keller.
Organizers say each family walked away with about 75 pounds of groceries.