Dear Flower City Picker’s volunteers and board members,
IMPORTANT INFORMATION! Please read fully! At the bottom is an explanation of newly listed guidelines and Q&A’s. Feel free to message us with comments or questions! Remember that our meetings are always open to the public. Thanks much!
Summer is here! With added rays of sunshine comes added work for us. More vendors will be participating at the Rochester Public Market, which means, our amount of collections goes up in volume. Because of this, there are a few needed adjustments to our workspace in order to run more smoothly with our future in mind. We also have a strong need for more active participants and are forming Action Teams (explained further below)! Board positions are also available.
Here is a breakdown of how a typical summer market Saturday may go:
12:30-1pm Set up
1-3pm Collections and sorting into grades
1-3pm Data for weight and grade collected
2:30pm ish FNB picks up B-Grade
2:45-3pm Shelter boxes go out for delivery
3pm Shelter pick-ups arrive/go through - remaining A&B-Grade
3pm C-Grade is picked up by C-People
3-3:30pm Break down/clean up/things returned to bus
As always, keep in mind that time may vary due to weather and other conditions.
There are some important new guidelines for all volunteers and board members to follow as well as reiteration of others that have been neglected. They are as follows:
- NO PARKING/IDLING along FCP barriers, bus, or neighboring sidewalk. Only 5-minute parking WITH FLASHERS allowed near A-Grade barriers for DROP OFF or PICK UPS ONLY until EOD (end of day 3:00pm).
- All visitors/guests (those from shelters, organizations, or C-Grade pickup we will refer to as “guests”) who enter the barricades before EOD will be asked to wear a Guest Name Tag (purple ones).
- NO guests allowed inside FCP barriers before EOD unless otherwise scheduled.
- NO guests allowed in the unsorted piles or volunteer sorting area until EOD.
- ALL volunteer built personal boxes of food to be built only at EOD.
What are action teams? An FCP Action Team will be a small group of individuals who are committed to solving a problem that we have. These groups will feature individuals who have special skills or interests that compliment a task that needs to be completed. Some needs are small; others will be larger. Needed teams are listed below. Let us know if you are interested in one or can suggest one you would be interested in forming.
-Website and social media needs
-Graphics (posters, fliers, signs, etc.)
-Bus painting and organization
-Volunteer scheduling calendar
FCP Action Teams will delegate roles amongst themselves by the free download application Slack. Slack is an app you can download on your smart phone or tablet as well as login via your computer with Internet connection. It’s similar to how a forum is set up. It’s a great way to communicate while on a team. There will be “channels” where each team can post in and all Action Team Members can view through each team’s communication and progress-this way, other teams can help with other projects. Think of it as Facebook Messenger with a group chat for each team but being able to view each and every group chat and input on any you choose. Images and files can be uploaded and exchanged too.
Submit your email address to be added to FCP Action Teams for Slack. Please use easy-to-identify names and appropriate images for your profile. Then, simply start posting in whatever “channel” you want to commit to!
Guidelines explained and Q&A’s:
1.) NO PARKING/IDLING along FCP barriers, bus, or neighboring sidewalk. Only 5-minute parking WITH FLASHERS allowed near A-Grade barriers for DROP OFF or PICK UPS ONLY until EOD (end of day 3:00pm). Parking at RPM during peak season is difficult and downright dangerous. Although FCP advocates for us to have a Public Safety officer present near our setup, sometimes we are unable to have this added security. FCP Volunteers are not permitted to direct any traffic or reserve any additional spaces aside from those four with signs. When a vehicle is stopped along our barricades for whatever reason, a “monkey see monkey do” effect happens. Vehicles mimic what they see and traffic can become very congested.
Because of this, it is imperative that those associated with FCP know that parking is only permitted for a limited amount of time with appropriate flashers on near our A-Grade barrier location for only pick-ups or drop-offs. Parking should not be permitted further back from the A-Grade barriers due to poor visibility around the bus. The strip of sidewalk in front of FCP towards the market is also to remain free from parking before EOD hours.
Special accommodations can be made for those with special needs. For example, at start of the market day, a barricade can be moved so a reserved parking spot (one of our usual four) can be filled by a volunteer while they wait for a nearby parking spot to become available. No idling or parking should be permitted outside of FCP barriers aside from the listed above reasons and location.
If there is a large amount of food that needs to be moved to a vehicle at a further location due to these guidelines for a time of over five minutes, volunteers are permitted to request use of a cart in order to ease the strain of move.
Why can’t FCP volunteers have reserved parking spots like Friends of the Market?
-Well, we just aren’t there yet! It’s taken us much effort to get our four spots reserved weekly for us and it’s a struggle to even have those by the time we need them! We’ve never had an issue with volunteers needing their own parking spaces.
What if many pick-ups or drop-offs come all at the same time and there is not enough space by the A-Grade barriers to accommodate all?
-Again, parking by the A-Grade barrier is only restricted before EOD hours. Hopefully, by changing the hours of pick-up times to 3pm and after, this problem will be mostly avoided. Any other parking difficulties will be addressed by the appropriate FCP assigned members like our Shelter Coordinator or Volunteer Coordinator. Our Shelter Coordinator will also be coordinating the times of pick-ups and drop-offs to avoid these problems.
Where are some good parking places for volunteers?
-The best method to get to the RPM is by taking public transit, to walk, to bike, or be dropped off. But, if you have a vehicle, there are a few places that I’d (Khoury) suggest parking with my two and a half years experience at RPM. I personally would suggest parking along the outside of the market and walking the block or two to our meet up location. My normal places of parking are along Pennsylvania usually between First and Third Street-then entering the RPM through the Pennsylvania and First entrance. If Pennsylvania Street is full, parking on any of the crossing streets work well too (like First, Second, or Third).
I’ll attach a picture of a map with highlights!
There’s also parking along Hayward Avenue which is that neighborhood road right behind the market. There’s an entrance along the green fence of the market you can use so park near the curve that’s along side the market.
There’s also an RPM City Lot on Union and Trinidad Street where there is parking. This requires a bit of walking though and is not suggested for those with mobility issues.
Be sure to obey all parking signs and city regulations!
2 & 3.) All visitors/guests (those from shelters, organizations, or C-Grade pickup we will refer to as “guests”) who enter the barricades before EOD will be asked to wear a Guest Name Tag (purple ones). NO guests allowed inside FCP barriers before EOD unless otherwise scheduled. During peak market season, there are many RPM customers who wander by FCP and think we are a vendor. Once sorting begins, our workspace can become quite a busy hive. Because of this, sometimes people wanting to look closer at our goods to buy will come inside the barriers and start rooting around by mistake. But, sometimes what volunteers may think is just a rogue RPM customer might actually be a scheduled beneficiary picking up for a shelter.
It sometimes gets hard to tell. So, during peak market season, no guests will be allowed within the barriers before EOD unless otherwise scheduled. Any guest permitted inside the barriers before EOD will wear a purple guest name tag so our volunteer worker bees can be at ease that there are no intruders to worry over.
4.) NO guests allowed in the unsorted piles or volunteer sorting area until EOD. Sometimes when there are shelters and individual beneficiaries picking up food, they will wander to the unsorted food pile thinking that all is up for grabs. Food will be picked from this unsorted pile and loaded into their bags or boxes-not being weighed and accounted for. This creates unnecessary holes in our data collection. The added bodies of these folks to the already crowded area can in itself be problematic too.
Therefore, any guests before EOD will not be permitted in the unsorted piles or volunteer sorting area.
5.) ALL volunteer built personal boxes of food to be built only at EOD. It is well-known that anyone who volunteers with FCP can take home food with them at the EOD. However, personal boxes should be built only at EOD-not throughout the sorting process. This is because any food that is taken from the sorting area is for one-not weighed, and two-that higher quality food is taken from the shelters and other organizations in need.
What if there is no good food at EOD? I want variety!
-There are two solutions here: 1.) If yourself/family are in need of support by having a greater volume and variety of food, please sign up to become a beneficiary; this way, a box can be made just for your/family needs. 2.) Our FCP box builders will start building an A-Grade box just for our volunteers to share at the EOD; this way, our busy volunteers can add some variety to their personal EOD boxes.
I see collectors and other volunteers store food on the bus throughout collections-that’s not fair!
-Sometimes volunteers and collectors will go out into the market and buy produce for their personal use-this is usually stored on the bus so as to not be confused with collected donations.
Our collectors that go out into the market are our busiest bees! Often collectors are still making trips while volunteers are putting away equipment at EOD. Because of this, collectors do not have time at the EOD to build a personal box. By the time collectors have a moment to rest at the EOD, most food from A and B Grades have already been claimed. The solution till now has been for collectors to toss food on the bus for personal use throughout the day. However, this will now stop. Collectors will wait till EOD to build their own personal boxes just like everyone else. Volunteers will just have to be reminded that food must be shared among all in need, even if collectors are not present while going through leftovers!
Thank you all for reading and please keep in mind these guidelines are for the betterment of FCP’s future as we strive to become a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit. Consistency is key!
With much love and appreciation,
Sincerely the founder and president of FCP -Khoury H.