The sun is burning off the remaining clouds and it looks like it
will be a glorious Saturday in Rochester- and that means a busy day at
the Rochester Public Market. Flower City Pickers resumed operations
after an eight-week self-imposed suspension to deal with and manage the
COVID 19 epidemic. After much planning and many meetings we developed a
plan to help keep our volunteers safe. After that, we needed to tackle
how to best serve the agencies that have come to rely on our produce
deliveries at a time when we could not function normally.
With the help of Lori’s Natural Foods, Monroe Community
Collaborative and the House of Mercy, we developed and implemented a
plan to continue to provide shares of food to those in need without
compromising safety for the two months we did not collect food at the
Public Market. Lori’s Natural Foods has been a very gracious donor, and
we hope that the goodwill they pay forward will continue. We value our
relationships with all our donors, and we want to express our gratitude
to all the employees there - especially G, who has dealt with numerous
emails and phone calls to help facilitate this.
While we missed the Market and it’s seemingly abundant
supply of produce, our operations (as they existed) were not safe in the
Corona Virus world. Our folksy, feel good, ‘everyone huddled together
outdoors under a small 10x10 tent to keep warm’ -in the often subzero
temperatures of Rochester - just wouldn’t cut it during the pandemic.
We relied on disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer to keep us clean in
the rugged environment of the Public Market. We knew immediately that
we would change our operations structure, but we needed a plan.
Fast forward: With the help of a Facebook fundraiser, we
raised $1500 to purchase new tables, portable hand washing stations,
and other operations supplies that were not budgeted for. The tables
will provide the physical distance that is necessary for our volunteers
to be able to work without being directly next to each other. Our
Development Director created two portable hand washing stations that
will be used by the volunteers. We have a safety briefing at the
beginning of each Operation, and a designated on site Safety Officer
that oversees and helps to remedy any issues that may come up.
Volunteers will be shown how to correctly don PPE (put on and take off
gloves and wash their hands, as well as how to properly wear a mask).
Flower City Pickers is dedicated to providing food to
those in need and helping to prevent food waste. Despite the obstacles
put in front of us, we have been able to have a small impact on the
hunger crisis that is happening all over the country. If you know of an
organization that could benefit from a share each week, please have
them contact us at email@example.com
If you know of an individual or family who is food insecure and could
use a hand during this time, please have them reach out to us and we
can help get them the resources they need.
All of us at Flower City Pickers are committed to our mission.
Please stay safe and be kind to others. Show courtesy and respect to
all those who are working in essential capacities to keep us safe. Wear
a mask when in public, wash your hands, and respect physical distancing