In just a few weeks, Foodlink will be celebrating 40 years of serving the Rochester community.
Founder Tom Ferraro went on the news on December, 1978 to put a request out for food donations. Thanks to a massive donation from one company, Thomas English Muffins, the food bank was born.
It didn’t take long for people to join his cause
“The one thing about Tom Ferraro is once he put his arm around you, you could never say no,” said George Wiedemer, Board Member at Foodlink Foundation.
Wiedemer says Foodlink spent the first 20 years at the former Wegmans store on West Avenue
When they outgrew it– Mort Kolko, a trustee for Foodlink, stepped in.
“In 1998, my brothers and I decided that we would gift our warehouse to Foodlink, 75,000 square feet was about the size they needed to go to the future,” said Kolko.
In forty years, Foodlink went from being a one person operation to 16,000 volunteers.
“We have about 500 community partners this year. We’ll distribute about 19 million pounds of nutritious food to those partners,” said Julia Tedesco, president of Foodlink.
Foodlink now has over eighty curbside markets and several mobile pantry sites, allowing them to bring food to people across our ten counties.
Foodlink prepares 5,000 meals a day on average for kids. It has a community kitchen, and now a community farm on Lexington Avenue, helping 60 different refugee families daily.