Food Runners

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Community Chest

Chop, saute, roast, bake. Chop, saute, roast, bake. Decorate, decorate, decorate. That's what 50 or so members of Congregation Beth Shalom in the Richmond District did for hours in the days leading up to Thanksgiving. The temple smelled fantastic. Backs ached, feet throbbed and hands were tired, but hearts were happy.

"Congregation Beth Shalom wants to prepare Thanksgiving dinners for families in need," Beth Jones, Manager of Membership and Congregation Relations explained to Food Runners founder and Executive Director, Mary Risley a few weeks before Thanksgiving.  "We have a full industrial kitchen and many volunteers excited to take part," Beth continued.  "We can easily produce over 100 dinners.  We're not sure where to take our dinners.  Can you help?"   In typical Mary Risley fashion, Mary sprung into action, not only providing the names of some family shelters, but, in addition, promising that Food Runners would coordinate Food Runners volunteers to transport the dinners from Congregation Beth Shalom to the chosen shelters.

Beth Shalom Thanksgiving dinner for a family of 4.
On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, excitement bubbled just below the surface all day for volunteers Karyn S., Debra R. and Jamie S., the three food runners who responded first to the call for the Beth Shalom run.  At 2:15 that afternoon, the three gals arrived in their respective cars, ready to spread some truly meaningful holiday cheer.  The fully prepared, deliciously fragrant dinners, all wrapped in lovingly hand-decorated bags, stretched out in a long line in the temple's courtyard, ready for pick up. 

Dinners ready for pick up by Food Runners volunteers.
The line of festive bags included complete dinners for 13 families (41 people total) for delivery by FR volunteer Debra R. to Compass Clara House  in Hayes Valley,  complete dinners for 21 families (75 people total) for delivery by FR volunteer Karyn S. to Hamilton Family Center near the Panhandle and last but not least, a communal meal with all the fixin's for 66 for delivery by FR volunteer Jamie S. to Compass Family Shelter in the Tenderloin.  Wow.  Food Runners and Congregation Beth Shalom rockin' it together for struggling  San Francisco families  at a time when struggling families often feel their struggles the most.

Karyn S. with car fully loaded.
Along with ending hunger and alleviating waste, creating community is one of the founding principals and ongoing missions of Food Runners.  From Congregation Beth Shalom to Food Runners to Clara House, Compass Family Shelter and Hamilton Family, community abounded this Thanksgiving with all parties involved being the richer for it when all was said and done.  What a great kick-off to the holidays.  Food Runners style.  Totally.

Jingle, jangle, jingle. Holiday parties and events are in full swing.  Do you know what's happening to the leftovers at the events you are attending?  Tell the food staff about Food Runners.  Food Runners volunteers will pick up the leftovers with a smile and make sure they are delivered to San Franciscans in need. Happy, healthy, hearty holidays to all! Got excess food?  Call Food Runners.  415-929-1866.