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Agencies wait to hear if food distributions will continue in Orleans County

Photos by Tom Rivers: Greg Gilman (center), maintenance supervisor at Community Action of Orleans & Genesee, helps with a food distribution this morning at the Main Street Store parking lot.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 August 2020 at 10:22 am

ALBION – Local organizers of food distributions in Orleans County expect to hear from Foodlink today if the program will be extended into the fall.

Next Friday in Holley is currently planned to be the last distribution. There was one this morning in Albion and there will be another on Wednesday at the Orleans County 4-H fairgrounds.

The distributions started in April and have grown. Today there were a boxes of meat, dairy and produce given to each vehicle, about 300 of each box. The distributions are advertised as starting at 9:30 a.m., but if the food is delivered and volunteers are in place, it starts sooner. Today there was a long line of cars by 8 a.m. The distribution started at about 8:15 a.m. and the food was all gone an hour later.

Annette Finch, community service director for Community Action, hopes the program will continue. So does Melissa Blanar, Office for the Aging director in the county.

They have organized many of the food distributions.

Melissa Webster, an employee of Bentley Brothers, carries a box of produce to a vehicle.

The food distributions are made possible through a state-funded program called Nourish New York. This funding allows Foodlink to purchase local product.

On a federal level, the USDA has implemented a new initiative called CFAP (Coronavirus Food Assistance Program). In this program, distributors who would normally serve schools, restaurants, and municipal programs are able to pre-pack boxes of perishable product and deliver to distributions being done all over the country.

If the distributions continues after this month, new locations will need to be found in Holley and Medina, which currently use school parking lots. School is scheduled to start next month.

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