Foodlink scaling back drive-thru food distributions

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Foodlink will phase out its drive-thru food distribution events in Monroe County in May, while expanding its food banking partnerships and capacity during the summer months.

To better support food-insecure households during this transition period, Foodlink committed an additional $1 million in funding to its network of food pantries, community meal programs and shelters.

“Our drive-thru food distribution model was a necessary and innovative emergency stopgap measure that has been central to Foodlink’s pandemic response,” said Julia Tedesco, president and CEO. “We’ve made the decision to pivot from this model and invest more resources in the network of community-based nonprofits that Foodlink has partnered with for decades to serve those in need. This network is not only equipped to respond to the food needs of clients across our area, but also to connect them to other critical social services and resources.”

Foodlink coordinated more than 600 distributions in the past 400 days that served approximately 180,000 households. Initial projections from Feeding America showed a rise in food insecurity by 45% in Foodlink’s service area. The anti-hunger organization recently revised those metrics based on updated employment data and now estimate the rise in food insecurity locally is closer to 25%. 

“Although the outlook is improving for some, we know there’s still a significant need in our communities and we remain committed to helping people put food on the table every day, while continuing to develop strategies that address the root causes of chronic food insecurity and poverty,” Tedesco said. 

Foodlink will add additional members to its network in the coming months and continue its drive-thru distributions in rural areas within the 10 counties it serves. Community members can find more than 250 food access points by going to the “Find Food” map on Foodlink’s website or calling 211 Lifeline.

“We want to thank 211 and the many community partners across Monroe County who stepped up to host our food distributions with us in the past 14 months — and the many volunteers who served our neighbors with dignity and respect during this challenging time,” Tedesco said.

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