Food Runners

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A Very Good Year

Happy New Year! Traffic is worse than ever. Rents are sky high and getting tickets to any kind of function in town is impossible. All because business is booming. San Francisco is on a roll. A big one.  Start ups, social media and other tech companies continue to flock the to City by the Bay in record numbers. Fortunately for Food Runners, the growth of the local technocracy has meant more food available for donation. A good thing too, since, along with tech jobs and rents, hunger in San Francisco is on also the rise. The "senior tsunami" continues to swell, in addition to which, many average folks are having a hard time making ends meet as San Francisco's cost of living spirals ever upward. Food Runners is in the trenches daily helping to stem the tide. Check out Food Runners top 10 highlights from 2012. 

Start-up lunch leftovers plated and ready to serve at Community Focus
10) T-SHIRTS TOO: Guillermo Alberto Ramos Espinoza of Kensington, MN won the 2012 SF Men's Urbanathlon held on Sunday November 18th, crossing the finish line with a final time of 1:04:43. After the race was over, done and wrapped, another kind of winning took place. Food Runners volunteer Sam E. showed up at Marina Green to pick up the leftover food: bananas, oranges, power bars and the like. Along with the food, the event donated a huge box of red, Urbanathlon t-shirts. The clients at City Team couldn't believe their luck. Full bellies and something clean and dry to wear. All in a day's work!

9) TEACH YOUR CHILDREN WELL:  You're never too young to perform community service. On March 29th, the Town School second grade class prepared approximately 50 bagged lunches for donation. On October 30th, the St. Finn Barr School third grade class baked 100 kid sized loaves of bread for donation. Both donations were picked up by Food Runners volunteers. Both donations went to programs serving children in need. From kids to kids. A perfect circle.

8)  DINE, DANCE, DONATE:  Have you ever attended an event at the Julia Morgan Ballroom? It's so swank. It's so elegant! And starting this holiday season, it's so community focused. On November 27th, Mike at the Ballroom answered the phone and listened to the Food Runners appeal to never throw away edible food. The next day, Mike sent Food Runners a schedule of all the Julia Morgan holiday events at which he suspected there would be leftovers. Food Runners volunteers picked up from more than a dozen Julia Morgan functions in the month of December. That's whatchya call swellegant!

7)  SPECIALLY FOR DONATION:   25 Lusk, a gorgeous SOMA spot to dine, joined the  rarified world of Food Runners "planned overage" donors. Once a week, 25 Lusk prepares a delicious, nutritious entree specifically for donation to Food Runners. The offering usually serves approximately 20-30 people. The pans are so heavy with the marvelous smelling concoction, that regular volunteer Wanda C's arms get tired transporting the food from the 25 Lusk's kitchen to her car. The tenants at the Washburn Residence love Wednesday nights.

6) TWO FOR THE PRICE OF ONE: Oracle World/Dream Force. Dream Force/Oracle World. Ellison/Benioff. Benioff/Ellison. Ah! It was conventions wars and the big winner was... Food Runners. Where there used to be one huge, food producing convention in the fall, now there are two. For ten beautiful days bridging the last week of September through the first week in October,  Food Runners was cross-eyed busy transporting excess food to those in need. Donations included over 1,000 boxed lunches per day on convention days, as well as large donations of catered food leftover from evening social events. It positively rained food during Dream Force and Oracle World. A little competition goes a long way. Thanks Larry and Marc!

5)  FOOD RUNNERS ELVES AID SANTA:  Santa lives in SF in the body of Chef Tim Stewart at McCall's Catering. For the second year in a row, Tim has used his culinary expertise along with the vast McCall's kitchen, to prepare Christmas Dinner for for 400 for the Sisters of  Fraternite Notre Dame to serve at their tiny soup kitchen located on one of the toughest blocks in the Tenderloin. Food Runners got into the act last year by connecting Tim with the Sisters and, this year, by sending volunteers Karyn, Jane, Lara and Alexa to transport Tim's beautiful dinner from the McCall's kitchen to Fraternite Notre Dame where is was cherished and enjoyed by a very needy population.

Volunteer Jane S. loading Chef Tim's Christmas dinner for transport.
4)  START-UPS DISCOVER FOOD RUNNERS:  It started in June with a call from Zero Cater. Almost overnight, the entire start-up community became aware of Food Runners. Suddenly, beginning at 1:30 every afternoon, the calls for pick ups just kept coming in as they continue to do to this day. Bright Media, Apartment List, Heroku, Rally, MoPub, Mochi Media, Luvocracy, Mocana,  Square, SauceLabs, Ampush...phew! The list goes on. And the food is gurrrrrr-REAT!!! The start-up culture takes care of its peeps and cares about the community too. The recipients at places like Cameo House,  which offers supportive, transitional housing to single mothers, love it when a Food Runners volunteer pulls up laden with start-up company lunch leftovers.

3) AMAZING CREW: The Food Runners volunteer crew is stronger than ever. Food Runners volunteers are an amazing group of citizens dedicated to helping their neighbors in need. From the mini crews like Dawn/Dede/Mary/Lisa who meet each other on weekend mornings to collect grocery store loads too large for a single car, to the foot soldiers like Frances C. and Sam H. who are game enough to brave Friday afternoon SOMA traffic on a weekly basis, to volunteers like Florence G. who will go anywhere anytime, to super mensches like Keith G. and Erik G. who volunteer to drive the Food Runners truck for massive pick ups on a regular basis - Food Runners volunteers are performing much needed service. All the volunteers, whether they go out once a year or multiple times per week are making a difference. Food Runners could not exist without them.

Volunteer William N. on weekly pick up at Garden for the Environment.
2)  FOOD RUNNERS TURNS 25:  Twenty-five years ago Food Runners founder Mary Risley had a beautiful, simple idea. Following a class she'd just taught at her own Tante Marie's Cooking School, rather than throwing away the wedding cakes her students had just baked, she piled them in her car and drove them to Glide Memorial Church where they were received with smiles and great appreciation. In that moment, Mary thought, "If I can do this, anyone can." Hence, Food Runners was born. 25 years later, Mary's beautiful, simple idea boasts over 250 volunteers, almost 600 donors and over 200 recipients. "I don't know how to fix the world's problems," Mary often says, "but I do know how to help my neighbor." 

1) THE GREATEST GIFT:  What's Food Runners greatest gift? Getting the food to those in need, of course, but perhaps something more.... From Food Runners volunteer Cheryl H. reporting on her Boxing Day run, 2012:  "Good day today on the food run with first-time runners, nephew Luca, neice, Analisa and Sabrina [daughter], who loved showing her cousins her favorite pick up routes from White Swan to Marine's Memorial's top floor restaurant. This year, we decided no gifts, but instead to enjoy doing a food run together. We filled the station wagon with boxes of food for North Beach Citizens.  We found parking right in front. The workers and the clients were so grateful to receive everything we brought them. Boxing Day became filled with a whole new meaning...!"

Sabrina teaching cousins the Food Runners ropes.
It's a brand new year! Remember to spread the word that Food Runners is always looking for more food. Tell your local restaurants, grocery stores, bakeries and other businesses that they never have to throw away or compost good, edible food. Food Runners is just a phone call away at 415-929-1866.  And don't forget to tell your friends that they can help too by becoming a Food Runners volunteer or by making a monetary donation to Food Runners. Giving back never felt so good!