Food Runners

Sunday, May 1, 2016


by Sharon H Smith, Volunteer

I started running again. Not what you think. Another kind of running. Picking up and delivering food for Food Runners.  In 2000, I became a Food Runners Volunteer while co-authoring a cookbook about restaurants, and have been running ever since. For years I ran once a week. With all the wonderful food I buy, cook, and restaurants I enjoy, I wanted to give back in some way. I started by picking up from the back doors of restaurants where I met chefs, cooks, and dishwashers. I experienced first-hand how hard people work and how generous they are. Over the years, like my fellow Volunteers, I have picked up from grocery stores like Gus Community Market, business parties, bakeries. There is a huge list of runs to choose from.

Tony from Gus's handing off the donations
Not only is it good to pick up, but also rewarding and eye opening to deliver. Our City is full of places that give people a leg up or offer them protection like The Sanctuary, and small ones, like little shelters, like La Amistad, found in non-descript Victorians. There are many halfway houses, after school programs, day care for underprivileged children, gender specific rehab, senior centers, soup kitchens, and more.

I had to take a break for a while for an injury to heal, but I’m running again. I’m on call for last minute afternoon runs. Recently I picked up at Kitchit, a company that sends chefs to homes with prepared meals. When I turned a corner, a little liquid from the foil covered trays spilled in my trunk, and some burritos tumbled over the edge reminding me to bring plastic next time for my trunk as I had in the past.

The amazing and dedicated dispatcher gave me both addresses. For the delivery she texted that it would l look like just a house, but it is actually a shelter for young mothers. After I handed over the food and turned to leave, a very young woman came out to the stoop smiling, holding a baby. “Thank you, “ she said “We’ll eat well tonight.”