Strong Hospital, Foodlink partner to bring patients healthy food

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Strong Memorial Hospital and Foodlink announced Thursday a new partnership aimed at ensuring patients have access to healthy food.

The hospital unveiled an on-site pantry run by Foodlink.

The pantry is the first of its kind and will make it easier for patients to access emergency food and support.

Foodlink CEO Julia Tedesco said this creates a new access point for people dealing with food insecurity because of the pandemic.

Tedesco said the number of people in our region facing food insecurity is up 10% from pre-pandemic levels, totaling 150,000 people on any given day.

"It’s a true integration of food into the healthcare system, recognizing that diet is critical to attaining and maintaining good health, something that URMC knows, something that Foodlink knows, and something that is now actually recognized with this food pantry on campus here," Tedesco said.

Organizers say they are confident the hospital-based pantry will be the first of many serving the region.