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Tickets to Taste of Pittsford Event Available at CNB Pittsford

March 2, 2012

D&C article: Time Well Spent Volunteering at Foodlink

Over the February vacation, I guess you can say I did some “trespassing” with my kids over to the west side of the city. But it was all for a good cause.

As I am constantly searching for events on the east side of town to cover here in my column, my day-to-day life rarely takes me to the west side of Rochester. How rare? On my way to volunteer with my three children at Foodlink’s new distribution facility on Mt. Read Boulevard, I got lost.

But once we arrived, we learned from the volunteer coordinator how Foodlink’s new facility will help to more efficiently distribute food donations to many food pantries back in east-side towns like Brighton, Pittsford and Victor. I also learned about a Foodlink agricultural enterprise in Penfield called Freshwise Farm.

Before my kids and I sorted through boxes of pasta and cans of corn and tuna fish, we learned that Freshwise Farm created educational and food assistance programming and educated the public on nutrition and local agriculture.

Sadly, as I investigated volunteer opportunities at the farm, I learned that due to financial constraints, the slow economy, and the increasingly high demand for emergency food, starting this month, Foodlink is indefinitely suspending all operations at Freshwise Farms, according to a statement released by Foodlink Executive Director Tom Ferraro. Ferraro also stated that the farm’s closing will “help Foodlink to further bolster emergency food distribution efforts and avoid a lack of resources for its main operations.”

In its life span, Freshwise Farms not only provided nutritional programming to the poor, but also sold its vegetables at local farmers markets and supplied produce for some of the restaurants that will be featured in “A Taste of Pittsford,” which will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Monday, March 12, at Nazareth College’s Shults Center, 4245 East Ave.

The ninth annual fundraiser, presented by the Rotary Club of Pittsford in cooperation with Nazareth College and the Pittsford Chamber of Commerce, is a great occasion to eat and drink the best of what Pittsford has to offer and supports many good causes in town. It raises about $14,000 each year for local charities and international community service projects.

Tickets are available at or at Canandaigua National Bank, SJ’s Boutique, Pittsford Federal Credit Union, Forsythe Jewelers and Pendleton’s in the village of Pittsford.

Jim Murphy, co-chair of the event, said his longtime involvement in the organization stems back to his childhood, when his father took him to Rotary events and meetings in Rhode Island. Murphy said the fundraiser this year will feature restaurants such as Erie Grill, Simply Crepes, Coal Tower, Aladdin’s as well as newcomers such as Back Nine, Half Moon and Lemoncello, to name a few.

Murphy said he is proud to be involved in an organization that gives back to the community through youth scholarships, support to Little League baseball teams and tutoring programs in conjunction with School 36 in the city. Among its many charitable efforts in the larger community, the Pittsford Rotary Club “adopted” the mayonnaise shelf at Foodlink, said Murphy, to go along with all those cans of donated tuna.

Contact Stacy Gittleman at with news and notable people from east-side towns.