According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, approximately 50 million individuals in the United States experience food insecurity. In a study conducted in 2013, researchers found that 11% of Rochester and the Finger Lakes Region — or 135,510 people — grapple with food insecurity on a daily basis.
Aside from the great stress that arises from having to figure out how to nourish children and family members each day, a lack of proper nutrients can severely affect adults and children alike. For instance, studies show that three or more servings of fruit and vegetables per day effectively reduce the incidence and risk of stroke by 27%, death from stroke by 42%, and cardiovascular disease mortality by 25%.
Luckily, there are organizations in Rochester that are actively seeking to end food insecurity in the Rochester region and give families access to regular nutrition.
Officially established in 1991, Foodlink is a Rochester-based organization that is dedicated to ending hunger within the Rochester community, doing so through the proliferation of local produce and reduced cost/free food.
In 2014, the organization donated more than 18 million pounds of food in underserved communities. In addition to serving food from local convenience stores and farmer’s markets, Foodlink has been offering their free mobile food pantry to citizens in underserved areas of Rochester. Its most recent stop was in late September in Stafford, NY.
And it’s not just Foodlink fighting to end hunger in Rochester. In late September, dozens attended the opening of a new food pantry in downtown Rochester run by The Father’s House, a Rochester-area church.
Father’s House expected only 95 attendees, but within the first hour, the pantry handed out 95 meals.
“It opened our eyes a lot when we started doing church in the city,” Director of Missions Tanya Folwell told WHAM 13. “From that, we realized there was a greater need that we don’t always recognize when we live in the suburbs, or when we’re doing our day-to-day work”.
The food pantry is open on Wednesdays from 5 to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and is located at 28 Lawn Street in Rochester.