Volunteers with HFL Grassroots keep their social distance for this picture. Submitted photo

If you have not heard, there is a local community-run organization offering support to local senior citizens, newly unemployed residents, families in need, and those most vulnerable in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The HFL Grassroots organization was created just one month ago and is operating out of #5 West Main St., Honeoye Falls (585-371-8387). They offer: grocery shopping with free contactless delivery, as well as free grocery and hygiene care packages for residents in need, free home-crafted cloth face masks, and specialty requests.

When NYS began restricting mass gatherings & requiring reductions in staffing of businesses on March 13, village resident and business owner Pamela Scully knew something had to be done.
“My dad is originally from Queens, so my family was watching the virus rapidly multiply with great concern for our extended family & friends living in NYC.”, she said, “When Monroe County’s 2nd COVID case was an employee at Greece Arcadia, my niece’s school, I knew it would only be a matter of time before we’d all be personally impacted by the virus.”

As Scully spoke with friends, a familiar theme developed: “How can we help our community?”

Scully brainstormed with Tessa Skurka of Lima, Jeff Klein of Mendon, and Kay Vukosic of Avon, who has children in the HFL school district. They were aware of Friends In Service Here (FISH) but felt the community’s need would exceed FISH’s scope of service which is food donation and medical transportation. Sharon Barnes, director of FISH, graciously offered guidance on developing HFL Grassroots and in return, HFL Grassroots offered to share volunteers.

Rotary member, retired Monroe County Sheriff, and founder of “They Stepped Up To The Plate” with his daughter Makayla, Jeff Klein told The Sentinel, “Service above self is more than just a motto for me. The opportunity to help members in this community is an honor.”

HFL Grassroots’ mission started simple and has expanded to many services, with more services in development. It has also benefited from generous donations from local businesses. Volunteers started by collecting food donations and distributing staples to those suffering the most during this unsettling time. There are several active donation boxes in the area: Family Dollar, Dollar General, Honeoye Falls Market Place and Mendon Meadows Market Place. Wright Beverage donated over $1,000 in product, quickly followed by Curtze Jacobstein Food Service donating over $500 in bread products for distribution.

Monetary donations have been processed with the help of Dr. Barry Kissack of Honeoye Falls Mendon Rotary and the Rotary’s nonprofit status. Thousand-dollar donations from Honeoye Falls Market Place and from Sharper Notions, LLC in Fairport have gone a long way to purchasing items for the care packages & the materials for masks.

The group has an active Facebook page, Kathy Kramer Shah and Joe Alati have taken the lead with their extensive Facebook administration training and experience running the largest HFL Community Facebook page. The number of members grew to over 600 members in 10 days, with an outpouring of community members ready to volunteer their time and talents to helping the community.

“We live in a very special community,” says Scully, owner of Bodywork Kneaded and 5 West Main, which operates as Grassroots headquarters. “It is full of people who want to give back and help others in need. We are so grateful to all those who have donated: time, money, food and skills; without them, we wouldn’t exist.”
In just over four weeks, the organization has grown to over 100 volunteers allocated over 6 divisions – volunteer coordination, sourcing/donations, distribution, mask making, grocery with delivery, and logistics.
“We are doing our best to help HFL-Mendon residents, young and old”, says Vukosic, an assistant Scoutmaster and treasurer for Scouts BSA Troop 10 and 410.

In an attempt to #FlattenTheCurve, many in the HFL-Mendon area have been laid off especially service workers from the area’s most favorite restaurants. The free care packages the HFL Grassroots organization provides, helps to ease the burden for them. HFL Grassroots have produced and distributed nearly 500 home-crafted masks. You probably have seen them on the faces of the HFMP employees. HFL Grassroots has, also, given away over 150 care packages to local residents.

NYS’ implementation of Matilda’s Law, a law requiring NYS residents over 70 to stay home and limit visitation to immediate family members and close friends, inspired the group to expand a shopping service to help keep HFL-Mendon senior citizens and the most vulnerable, from having to risk a trip to the store.

“Our senior citizens are most negatively affected by social distancing and are rightfully fearful about something as simple as going for groceries.” Tessa Skurka said, she continued, “There is a great deal we have taken for granted in our lives and no longer can. The HFL Grassroots organization wants people to know, as our motto says: ‘we are simply neighbors caring for neighbors’.”

Need assistance?

Item pick up at the backdoor of 5 West Main:

  • HFL Grassroots offers: toilet paper, bar soap, cleaning products, etc
  • Location: 5 West Main St. Honeoye Falls. Pull up in parking lot across from the fire department.
  • Hours: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10 a.m. to noon and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. or by appointment.
  • Pick-up instructions: Pull through the back lot. Unlock your trunk/hatch. Beep once. DO NOT ENTER THE BUILDING. Items will be placed in your car.

For delivery and/or grocery shopping services:

  • contact: Facebook (private message): @HFL-Mendon COVID-19 Grassroots
  • Email:  HFLgrassroots@gmail.com
  • Phone: (585) 371-8387

Help support:

  • To volunteer visit the Facebook page: @HFL-Mendon COVID-19 Grassroots and find the volunteer application in the ‘About’ section.
  • Food, cleaning supplies, and toiletries can be left in the donation boxes at: Family Dollar 125 W. Main St, Honeoye Falls, NY, Dollar General 1464 Rochester St, Lima, NY 14485, Honeoye Falls Marketplace, 166 W Main St, Honeoye Falls, NY 14472, Mendon Meadows Marketplace 51 Assembly Dr, Mendon NY 14506 and HFL Grassroots Headquarters, back parking lot of 5 W Main St, Honoeye Falls NY 14472
  • Monetary and Corporate donations are accepted and are tax deductible when made through the Honeoye Falls Mendon Rotary Foundation. Any donation over $100 can be provided a tax-exempt receipt. Monetary donations can be made online by visiting: https://hfmrotary.org/page/hfl-grassroots, or by mailing a check written out to HFM Rotary, with “HFL Grassroots” on the memo line, to HFL Grassroots Effort, ATTN: Pamela Scully, 5 West Main Street, Honeoye Falls, N.Y. 14472.
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