The parties! The galas! The food! Oy, so much food. So many leftovers. The Halloween costumes are stashed. The plastic skeletons put away until next year. Aunt Isabel is already rifling through the cedar chest in search of the damask table cloth big enough for the family table with all the leaves inserted. Cousin Doug has been planning the Thanksgiving menu with his sister Christine since July. Candied yams or plain? Traditional stuffing or Cajun style? Do you call it stuffing or dressing? Visions of golden brown, fat breasted birds roasted to crackling perfection dance through our heads along with thoughts of the mouth watering lobster canapes and delectable petit fours bound to turn up at all those swell holiday soirees where the gowns sparkle, the jewels glitter and the revels continue until the wee hours. The Season of Excess has officially begun.
|Volunteers Lisa M and Dawn D loading up at Whole Foods|
That's excess for many of us. But what about the estimated 197,000 San Franciscans who struggle to feed themselves and their families on a daily basis? That's approximately 26% of San Francisco's population that faces the threat of hunger everyday. It won't be The Season of Excess of even Enough for them.
That's where Food Runners comes in. It may be the Season of Excess, but it's also the Season of Giving. Of course, at Food Runners, The Season of Giving lasts 365 days a year. Happily for Food Runners, the donations roll in at greater volume over the holidays when those in need may feel the pinch the most. Donations like the 25-30 frozen turkeys provided annually by the Westin San Francisco Market Street Hotel. Donations like the 100 pies courtesy of Mission Pies last December 24th. Donations like the 200 brown bag lunches prepared for two Thanksgivings in a row by groups of USF students who care. In addition, stores like Trader Joe's and Whole Foods donate mind-boggling amounts of "spoils" (insider talk for food, still in good condition that's on or just past it's sell by date) on and over the few days surrounding each holiday.
|Volunteer Ron K's trunk full of donations|
Food Runners volunteers love this time of year. Showing up with food for those in need is gratifying at anytime, but showing up during the holidays with carloads twice their normal size makes volunteers' hearts expand to three times their normal size. In the words of Food Runners volunteer David T. last Christmas in speaking about Robert, a man on the receiving end of a weekly Saturday food run shared by David, his wife and some Food Runners volunteer friends: "Robert has become, for us, the human face of the people we touch in our role as middle person between the food and those who need it. But he has become more than a client. He has become a friend and a man with a back story that, like some gigantic onion, gets peeled back layer by layer each time we interact with him. We will be making two runs on Chirstmas Eve of the usual overflow from Trader Joe's. We are hoping against hope that, despite the non-Saturdayness of the runs, we will be able to find Robert there on the curb outside his building where, if we are lucky, he will make our Christmas, not vice versa." It doesn't get much better than that.
|Volunteer Judy E picking up planned overage @ Piperade|
Want to join the fun? There are many ways to donate to Food Runners during the holiday season.
- Become a Food Runners volunteer. Bet you'll get hooked!
- Out of town or no time to run food? Make a financial donation.
- Donate food. Although Food Runners does not pick up from private homes, we will happily direct you to an agency serving those in need in your area.
Over the bridges and through the hills, to holiday feasts we go... Do you know what's happening to the leftovers at the all the dinners and parties you'll be attending this season? 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."
|Volunteer Alexa V doing ride-along on Food Runners truck|