Food Runners

Monday, October 11, 2010

Strong Bones, Healthy Bodies

Protein.  It helps us think better.  It makes us feel full longer.  Protein keeps our muscles strong and it won't spike our blood sugar like a Danish or a bag of Doritos.  Over the past few years, San Francisco has witnessed a dramatic increase in the number of people seeking food assistance from  community based food programs.  The soup kitchens  report seeing, in particular,  a large increase in the number of seniors as well as families with working adults not earning enough to sustain basic needs.   At the monthly San Francisco Board of Supervisors Food Security Task Force meetings, how to increase the nutritional content of the food available to local programs is a hot topic.

Enter Food Runners founder and director, Mary Risley.  Mary's done it again.  She put her compassion and incredible business acumen together and called for round two of the Food Runners meat program that she began in 2009.  This past April, Mary called her friend Robert Rosenthal at Del Monte Meat Company explaining that she wanted to purchase $1,000 worth of meat every Tuesday for twenty weeks for the purpose of delivering it to shelters and food programs in need.   Del Monte didn't hestiate for an instant.  "We'll do right by Food Runners," the folks at Del Monte assured.  Hunger in San Francisco is such an important cause.  Del Monte is proud to partner with Food Runners."

Right from the first pick up,  Del Monte lived up to its promise.  Tuesday after Tuesday, sometime between 8-9AM, the Food Runners truck would roll away from Del Monte chock full of sausage patties, bacon, sides of pork, chicken both frozen and fresh, rump roast and more. 

"This is fantastic," Chef Xavier of Bayview Hunter's Point Adult Day Health Center exclaimed.  "I can make a hearty stew with this pork and serve the chicken later in the week.  It's wonderful to be able to offer  our seniors something substantial and nutritious," he remarked of the 140+  he serves lunch to on a daily basis. 

"This is such a blessing," intoned Sister Marie Made-
leine at Frater-
nite Notre Dame in the Tenderloin. "Every month, more and more people are coming," she continued.  "It's been hard to keep up.  The meat will help stretch everything farther."

"The meat really helps our families who are mostly led by single mothers," enthused Araceli of the Iris Center in the Mission.  "The need is is so great right now," she said in a subdued voice.  "This gives our mothers a chance to put something healthy on the table instead of chips which is all they can afford if they can even buy food at all."

Day old bread and pastries are easy commodities to come by in the world of food donations, but protein is a different matter.  Food Runners decided to do something about that.  Mary simply asked herself, "where is the greatest need?"  Her answer elicits nothing short of a big, "wow, Mary Risley.  Wow!"

This past month Food Runners welcomed new donors Cups and Cakes Bakery, Baker and Banker and Casa Lucas.   Many thanks to Oracle and some of the many businesses serving the annual Oracle Convention including,  Moscone West, the Palace Hotel, the San Francisco Hilton, the Hotel Intercontinental, the San Francisco Marriott and in particular, McCall Catering for the thousands of pounds of food they donated collectively following convention activities.  Among other donations during Oracle week, Food Runners picked up an average of 1,200 boxed lunches per day!  

Do you know what your local market, bakery or restaurant is doing with their excess food?  Ask them, then tell them about Food Runners.  Donating instead of tossing their food is just a phone call away.  Food Runners is safe.  It's legal.  And it's free.