Food Runners

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Food for Thought

Have you ever wondered about who receives the food that Food Runners picks up? Chances are when you close your eyes, you imagine adults, mostly men, standing in line at a well known soup kitchen like St. Anthony's Dining Room or Glide. But, beyond St. Anthony's and Glide, there are many different types of organizations throughout San Francisco serving many different populations in need.  For example: after school programs targeted to kids from low-income families...

Gaggles of high school kids gather daily at after school programs like those at Oasis for Girls, Booker T. Washington Community Center, Seven Tepees or the Vietnamese Youth Development Center. The kids slouch, slink and be-bop simultaneously as only teenagers can. They could be your kids. They could be my kids.  They look and sound like average adolescents. They laugh a little too loud.  Some wear their skirts a little too high or their pants a little too low. Some sport piercings in all the wrong places and hair colors Mother Nature never dreamed of. Typical teens except that many of these kids have to make tough choices like whether to spend what little money they may have on food or bus fare to get home.

Thanks to Food Runners,  on some days, some of these kids get to use their change for bus fare instead of food. Every Wednesday afternoon, Food Runners volunteer Paul O. stops in at Heroku, a tech company in SOMA, where the lovely Celeste plies him with trays of leftovers from the day's catered lunch. The food is spectacular and the menus are always wonderfully healthful.  No junk food at Heroku. Celeste makes sure the hard working staff at Heroku is eating well.  Better nutrition leads to sharper minds. That goes for the young ladies at Oasis for Girls in SOMA too where Paul delivers the food. A similar routine plays out at Justin TV every Friday. Food Runners volunteer Courtney N. braves the traffic at the corner of Bush and Sansome  where Ashley of Justin TV waits curbside with a cart stacked with anything from bowls of fresh salad, to trays of spring rolls to sandwiches; whatever Justin's lunch offering o' day consisted of. Courtney delivers the food to smiling young faces at the Vietnamese Youth Development Center in the heart of the Tenderloin.

When Food Runners delivers to after school programs like Oasis and VYDC, the study areas get quieter. When Food Runners delivers to after school programs like Oasis and VYDC, the growl of rumbling stomachs gets replaced by the sound of pages turning in books and the click of fingernails on keyboards. When Food Runners delivers to after school programs like Oasis and VYDC, tougher math problems get solved, harder words get spelled correctly, more homework gets finished and maybe, just maybe some kids inch a little closer to success because they can concentrate on things other than hunger.

The ability to provide substantial, nutritious food at programs like Oasis and VYDC translates into greater attendance. This a refrain heard from staff at many of the after school programs Food Runners serves. Greater attendance means less time on the streets and more time focused on school work.  Food Runners is proud to be a factor in that equation.  

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. To donate food, they simply need call 415-929-1866.  In the words of Food Runners director Mary Risley, "There's enough food out there for everyone. It's a matter of distribution."