Food Runners

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Kid's Stuff

Sunday November 7th looked like a grim day for a farmers market run.  The first storm of the season howled off the Pacific sending sheets of rain hurtling sideways through San Francisco's legendary hills.  Food Runners volunteer Dianne M. did not waiver for an instant.  She and her group of fellow students from Menlo Atherton High School's "Outreach Service Club" had been eagerly anticipating their stint at the Fort Mason Farmers Market for weeks.  "The run goes rain or shine," read the instructions.

Diane grabbed her rain gear, rallied her troops and headed north.  The group timed traffic from the Peninsula just right, arriving at Fort Mason at 1:15PM.  Once parked (no easy feat),  they burst from their cars baring bags, Food Runners "ID" cards, receipts and smiles. Their enthusiasm was infectious.  Food Runners volunteer Art P., a veteran of the Fort Mason Farmers Market run, waited by the chicken truck just inside the parking gate.  Art had been assisting on the run almost since its inception in August.  He knew the ropes and would act as guide and fellow food gatherer to the students; a perfect gig for a Food Runners volunteer with no car.  

After finding each other, Art explained to the stu-
dents how to go about col-
lecting the food from the vendors.  Nothing to it really.  Just a matter of catching the farmers as they shut down their booths for the day and asking it they might have anything for donation.  Most of the vendors were extremely generous, as is their norm, handing over bags and bags of very ripe or slightly damaged but still gorgeous, organic produce.  With Diane's group of ten or so, the gathering went very fast.  The students piled the haul high at a spot predetermined by Art.  When all was amassed, the spoils were evenly split for delivery to Friendship House, Harbor House and Hamilton Family Center.  Fresh produce in good condition is a hot commodity amongst shelter chefs.  Bread and sweets are easy to come by, but nature's nutritious treasures are not.  Too costly.

Smiles abound all around on Sundays when the Fort Mason Farmers Market delivery arrives.  On Sunday November 7th,  the smiles were broader than usual when the clients saw high school students  on the giving end of things.  Perhaps the biggest smiles of all spread inside the hearts of Diane and her team as they drove home knowing that they made a difference that day.  A real difference. They could have stayed home and stayed dry.  They could have caught up on their Facebook pages. They could have texted their thumbs blue all day.  Instead, they chose to get soggy while helping their neighbors in need.  And they had a great time doing it.  What a way to kick off the holiday season! 

Speaking of the holidays...  a major thank you goes out to A.G. Ferrari Foods who donated 50 complete Thanksgiving meals to Food Runners on Wednesday, November 24th. The meals were delivered to Clara House, a family shelter who was overjoyed at the bounty.  Many thanks as well to Chef Brian Healey at the Parc 55 Hotel for his donation of 24 turkeys.  The turkeys were  picked up and delivered by Food Runners before being cooked, served and much appreciated on Thanksgiving Day at Martin DePorres House of Hospitality.  Martin DePorres also received a donation of 60 pies from Food Runners courtesy of the Seven Eleven at 5100 Geary whose manager asked customers to purchase a pie specifically to be donated to a shelter for Thanksgiving.  Food Runners volunteer David R. proudly picked up and delivered the pies.

Over the bridges and through the hills to holiday bashes we go.  Do you know what's happening to the leftovers at the all the glittering soirees you are attending?  Tell the host/caterer/event coordinator about Food Runners.  In the words of Food Runners director Mary Risley, "There's enough food out there for everyone. It's a matter of distribution."