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Huge backups on East Ridge Road for emergency food giveaway

Hundreds of cars packed parking lots at the former Medley Centre on Tuesday for the latest pandemic food distribution. 

Vehicles were backed up on East Ridge Road from North Goodman Street all the way down to Culver Road and down Culver to Route 104, which was packed as well. 

People came as far as Williamson, Wayne County, to get their share of 4,000 free gallons of milk and 43,000 pounds of free food. 

Jennifer Donnelley of Irondequoit said this is the second food distribution she’s attended this year. She said her family never needed it until work dried up when the pandemic hit.

“I clean houses for a living, and I haven’t fully gone back to work because most people don’t want you in their house,” said Donnelley.

The American Dairy Association and the Veterans Outreach Center were among several groups that provided food. 

Eric Zuber is a dairy farmer from Williamson and is part of the Upstate Niagara Cooperative, which provided much of the milk for the event. Zuber said he’s been in the dairy business for 50 years and said the event and the turnout were overwhelming.

“Well, we’ve done a lot of work with schools to drink milk. Promotion in schools trying to get kids to drink milk. Trying to get a good diet in their lunches," Zuber said. "Different marketing avenues, but this is the first time I’ve ever seen something quite like this.”

In addition to milk, 450 boxes of meat and more than 1,300 boxes of produce were handed out. 

The milk was a big selling point for Donna Voye of Gates and her son Charlie. She said she’s out of work and never came to a food distribution before. 

“It’ll give our family more funds that we can use on other household bills,” said Voye. “He goes through two gallons of milk a week, so it’ll help a lot.”

James Brown is a reporter with WXXI News. James previously spent a decade in marketing communications, while freelance writing for CITY Newspaper. While at CITY, his reporting focused primarily on arts and entertainment.
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