Food Runners

Friday, April 8, 2011

A Great Run

It's 1:25 on the first sunny Tuesday afternoon in a month.  In the back parking lot of the Ferry Building Marketplace, the one reserved for delivery trucks, Food Runners volunteer Dave M.  wraps up a phone call from inside his modest silver hatchback.  At 1:30, Dave emerges from his car and heads to the CUESA booth out front to pick up a cart.  The Ferry Building's Tuesday Farmers Market is jammed thanks to the good weather.  Before heading to the shops  inside, Dave stops in at the Heirloom Organics booth to check in with Mary,  the "greens lady." Dave hands Mary a few lawn sized garbage bags and tells her,  "I'll be back."  "I've got a good load for you today," Mary assures with a smile, "See you shortly."

Down the busy inside aisle  lined with specialty shops Dave trundles.  "Do you have anything for Food Runners today?" he inquires at Miette Patisserie.  The sales person reaches into the refrigerator case and pulls out two decorative brown boxes, each containing the kind of exquisite cakes that even the most hard-corps health food aficionado would have trouble saying "no" to.  Two shopping bags full of bento box lunches along with a dozen or so delicate Japanese salads await Food Runners at Delica RF-1Pepple's Organic Donuts offers three boxes chock full of mouthwatering, confections that give a whole new meaning to the concept of donuts. Dave wheels the kitty to his car to unload before heading back to the Farmers Market portion of the run for the produce donations.

It's a good day for Food Runners.  The "greens lady's"  toned, tattooed arms hand over three giant bags crammed with organic greens.  Bruins Farms supplies several flats of succulent, fat-cheeked tomatoes.  Dave reaps a broad spectrum from Hamada Farms as well as County Line Harvest.  By now, the cart is overflowing.  Dave crams the haul into his car before going back out for one last load donated by Everything Under the Sun.  Dave can barely close his car doors.

Dave turns out of the Ferry Building and endures a jaunt down Market street weaving between  the trolleys, countless busses, hoards of pedestrians and impatient cyclists.   At last he veers off on Turk, drives a few blocks, then pulls up to the Sala Burton Residence, a clean, well maintained building mid-block between Hyde and Leavenworth.  A woman in her 70’s, wearing a salmon and lilac, hand-painted caftan with metallic gold ankle boots  adorning her feet, stands sentinel on the curb.  Soft silver waves caught in a bun frame her aquiline face.  Dave emerges from his car. "Hi Beverly," he waves.  "Hi Dave," she returns in her mellifluous yet no nonsense voice. "Let me tell the tenants that Food Runners is here."
Beverly is the President of the Tenants Association at the Sala Burton Residence.  The Sala Burton Residence is a public housing building serving approximately 100 low income seniors and disabled adults.  Beverly has held her  tenant elected position for many years.  It’s easy to see why.  She advocates passionately for her fellow tenants most of whom are in their 60’s, 70’s or 80’s.  Beverly does everything from activating the “Remembrance Fund” which supplies flowers in the lobby of the building or to the grave of a newly passed away tenant to finding services like Food Runners.

Food Runners has been delivering the Tuesday Farmers Market donations to the Sala Burton Residence since  July of 2008.  Dave has been on the job the majority of that time.  Dave loves seeing Beverly as much as Beverly loves seeing him.  Beverly often calls Food Runners to say thank you and to mention what a difference Food Runners makes for the tenants she so fiercely represents.  It's a good thing.  A very good thing.

Food Runners is always looking for more food. Are your local shops throwing away food?  What about the caterer from the gala or Bar Mitzvah you attended last week?  Tell them about Food Runners.  Food Runners volunteers are eager to pick up their excess food and deliver it to San Franciscans in need.