Food Runners

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Heroes Among Us

When the unexpected happens, Food Runners volunteers are ready!

The message got left on the Food Runners line at 8:04PM.  The message got picked up at 8:17PM.  By 8:26, a Food Runners volunteer had been dispatched.  Pick up arrangements for any excess food generated by last Thursday's Taste of the Nation event had been in place for weeks.  Food Runners volunteer Dan H. was ready.  He had Food Runners brochures.  He had his Food Runners hat.  He had containers.  He had plastic bags.  During the early portion of the event, Dan was to staff the Food Runners information table, promoting Food Runners and answering questions.  Then, as the festivities wound down, Dan was set to make the rounds of the forty chefs on hand to see if they had leftovers.  Following the food "round up," Dan would deliver the haul to the Oshun Center, a 24 hour drop in center for women located under the highway where SOMA bleeds into the inner Mission.

No one was anticipating much in the way of leftovers.  Everyone thought everything would be eaten as it had been in past years.  The message from Food Runners founder Mary Risley said simply, "I'm here at the Taste of the Nation event.  There's way more food than Dan can handle.  Can you send another volunteer by 9:30?"  Four no-answers and one "sorry, I have dinner guests" later and volunteer William N. picked up the phone.  "Sure I can do that," he replied enthusiastically. "Just give me the details and I'm on it."  And on it he was.  He arrived on the scene just before 9:30 and located Dan who was working his tuchus off gathering food.  William filed this report:  

"The biggest problem was transporting the food to the cars.  There were no carts available.  There was nowhere to park near the entry to the stadium club elevators (the event took place on the club level of AT & T Park) and security was in a hurry to get everyone out.  After I returned one of the event tables on a dolly, I ended up lost in the bowels of the stadium when the main entrance got locked at 10:30.  I was, however, rescued by someone in an electric cart who showed me out.  Unfortunately, it was on the east side of the stadium. My car, with its flashers on, had been in the white zone by the 3rd Street Bridge for over an hour!  Luckily, no one cared.  Dan and I split the food and went off to make our drops.  The delivery went just fine at St. Vincent De Paul.  they took the food with smiles, appreciation and all of that through a metal detector.  That's a long way of saying that lots of excellent food was enjoyed by many and instead of being wasted."

Dan reported that his delivery to the Oshun Center was met in a similar fashion, but only after a few moments of uncertainty by the ladies present to open the door to a strange man in the middle of the night.  As soon as they understood it was Food Runners knocking, Dan received the hero's welcome he deserved.  Heroes wander amongst us every day.  Some of them just happen to be Food Runners.

Food Runners picked up and delivered 110,675 pounds of food in the month of April.  Volunteers performed 893 runs and the truck did 263.  Please welcome new donor Gastronaut Catering.  Gastronaut jumped right in requesting pick ups on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays on an ongoing basis.  Volunteers assigned to the run have reported wonderful food, nice people and happy recipients.

Do you have friends who are looking for a way to give back but aren't sure what to do?  Tell them about Food Runners.  It's fast.  It's easy and it's fun.  And most importantly, it makes a difference.

** Check out Food Runners and Urban Gardens
as featured on KQED blogs.
** Watch Food Runners founder Mary Risley on KQED'S 
 "This Week in Northern California" as aired on April 30.