Wednesdays at our Maplewood Family YMCA have become a fixture in recent months. The Lifespan Lily Cafe has become home to Foodlink’s Teaching Kitchen and the members could not be happier about it.
The YMCA of Greater Rochester currently partners with Foodlink at three locations — the Maplewood Family YMCA, the Lewis Street YMCA Neighborhood Center, and the Thurston Road YMCA Neighborhood Center. Foodlink provides members with food access, particularly through its curbside market, which can be found at these three locations each Wednesday.
Brenda Walker — a YMCA member since 2004 — has enjoyed Maplewood since she started frequenting the branch in 2022. She does not cook often at home, but being able to help with the Teaching Kitchen each week is the perfect amount of cooking time for her.
“I love to see the people’s faces with the recipes we make,” Brenda said. “And they always give us feedback and they say, ‘it’s so delicious,’ so that makes me feel good.”
Brenda said the members that who visit the Lily Café for the Teaching Kitchen are like a family, sharing conversations (and laughs) while croqueting after their meals.
Wendy Houlihan, the Program Coordinator of the Lily Café, has been thankful to see all of the nutritious recipes that have been shared with the Maplewood members. Each week, six members get to help Laura Downie, Foodlink’s Community Health Educator, in bringing healthy recipes to life. The thing that Wendy has liked most about Foodlink bringing these recipes is the variety of options provided, from power breakfast bruschetta to sweet potato soup.
”It’s just top-notch food, vegetables, fruits, it’s just amazing food.” Wendy said. “It’s very nutritious and it’s for this AOA (Active Older Adult) community, and me for myself, it just makes you want to eat better, eat healthier.”
In addition to the Teaching Kitchen, Foodlink also brings in its cCurbside mMarket for our members. Laura said she is looking to highlight the options from the Curbside Market while working in the Teaching Kitchen. The idea behind Foodlink working with the members at Maplewood — as well as at The Thurston Road YMCA Neighborhood Center and The YMCA Center for Equity at Lewis Street — is driven by two main components.
Wendy spoke so highly of the partnership that has developed with Foodlink and hopes it continues to grow from here.
”It’s just top-notch food, vegetables, fruits, it’s just amazing food.” Wendy said. “It’s very nutritious and it’s for this AOA community, and me for myself, it just makes you want to eat better, eat healthier.”
Laura said she is looking to highlight the options from the Curbside Market while working in the Teaching Kitchen. She also shared that the idea behind Foodlink working with the members at Maplewood — as well as at our Thurston Road YMCA Neighborhood Center and the YMCA Center for Equity at Lewis Street — is driven by two main components.
“One is to help create community in this organization where they’re already doing an amazing job bringing people together collectively over food, which is a powerful way to bring people together,” Laura said. “And secondly, fresh ingredients, that are easy to prepare, and affordable food.”
Now can you pass the plate?