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Federal dollars help Foodlink expand food access in Monroe County

Federal dollars help Foodlink expand food access in Monroe County

Foodlink will expand food access for Monroe County families with $1.4 million in proposed federal funds.  


Foodlink’s proposal is one of almost 40 projects selected as part of Bring Monroe Back, Monroe County’s plan that will utilize federal funds received through the American Rescue Plan Act.  

Monroe County is the recipient of some $144 million in local fiscal recovery funds.  

“American Rescue Plan Act funding will allow our community kitchen to expand our services and reach new community members,” said Julia Tedesco, Foodlink president and CEO. “We are grateful for this opportunity granted to us by Monroe County to serve quality food through models that historically were not eligible to participate in federal nutrition programs … and we hope this initiative will serve as a model for the evolution of federal nutrition programs.” 

Foodlink’s proposal addresses two drawbacks in Federal Nutrition Programs which currently limit geographies and set age limits.  

Currently, such programs outside the city of Rochester must meet strict income qualifications and only pay for meals for children (ages 5 to 18) or seniors. The current guidelines exclude multi-generational programs — a barrier to serve the growing need in towns like Gates, Greece and Irondequoit.  

This proposal allows Foodlink to serve meals to multi-generational families throughout Monroe County via community programs such as Foodlink’s meal delivery truck, which provides meals to underserved neighborhoods and to anyone in need.  

The program was piloted in targeted city neighborhoods during the last two summers.  

With ARPA support from Monroe County, the program will expand into high need areas in various towns as well as serve meals for multi-generational families at the Lewis Street YMCA Neighborhood Center in Rochester and Open Door Mission’s Coldwater House in Gates.  

“The wellness and vitality of our community requires every person to have access to healthy and nutritious food, regardless of age or geographic location,” said County Executive Adam Bello. “During the height of the pandemic, we saw families across Monroe County impacted by food insecurity. Even today, we see both city and suburban food pantries and food cupboards struggling to meet increased demand. Partnering with Foodlink will allow us to reach more people in need.” 

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