Foodlink has moved its emergency volunteer food packing operation to a large warehouse in Gates, after Monroe County officials identified the nonprofit’s previous temporary home as a possible field hospital site for coronavirus patients.

The new volunteer operations center was donated for use by Foodlink developer Acquest. Truckloads of donated food are unloaded at the site, and volunteers will pack tens of thousands of emergency food boxes.

“We’ll be able to safely host hundreds of volunteers, to maintain social distancing protocols,” said Julia Tedesco, Foodlink president and CEO, “while we continue to pack those critical boxes that are going to go out to the community.”

That work was previously done at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center, where a temporary setup was assembled last month to meet coronavirus-related food needs.

Monroe County Executive Adam Bello announced another use for that downtown building: it’s been identified as a potential site for a field hospital to treat COVID-19 patients.

“It made a lot of sense,” said Bello. “A lot of people said what you need to do is make sure the convention center is available in the event it might be needed.”

So many things these days are based on need. Foodlink moved 2 million pounds of food last month, and the nonprofit is seeing a lot of first-time faces — with a need.

“We are seeing families and individuals who lost jobs, who are nervous for what it means for their families,” said Tedesco.

With a steady stream of food and money donations, Tedesco says Foodlink is prepared to keep moving — to stay ahead of the need.

“As long as the need is there we will continue to pack boxes,” she said. “Continue to lean on our emergency food partners, and make sure this community is fed.”