WXXI AM News

Foodlink Founder Tom Ferraro Has Died

Feb 11, 2014

Tom Ferraro, the founder and Executive Director of the regional food bank organization " Foodlink "  has died at the age of 67 from pancreatic cancer.

Ferraro has been executive director of the organization for the last 36 years. The Rochester native has been involved in the issue of hunger since the early 1970s when he volunteered at a food cupboard in the 19th ward.

Foodlink was incorporated in 1983 and now it runs more than 30 food-related programs.

“It is with great sadness that we share the news of Tom’s death,” said Julia Tedesco, Chief Development & Communications Officer at Foodlink. “Tom had an unquenchable passion for addressing the societal injustices that kept individuals in poverty and struggling to feed their families.  It was this passion, combined with his deep humility and extraordinary sense of humor that made him an inspirational leader not only to the employees of Foodlink, but to the thousands of people he worked with in our community.  He was a remarkable mentor to us all.” 

Mary Ellen Burris, Senior Vice President of Consumer Affairs, Wegmans Food Markets, issued this statement:

"“We are heartsick about Tom’s too-soon departure.  We’ve worked with him for over 30 years, being one of his early supporters for food banking.  We’ve admired his entrepreneurship, constantly reinventing his agency. We shared his belief that what was important was to avoid waste, keep the organization well managed and financially sound, help caregivers in the community reduce their costs for food so they can keep helping people in need more efficiently, and trying to get at root causes of hunger.”

Ferraro is survived by his wife, mother, three sons and many other family members. Those wishing to donate funds on behalf of Ferraro are asked to consider contributing to the Foodlink Foundation in Tom Ferraro's name.  The address is: Foodlink Foundation, PO Box 60766, Rochester, NY 14606