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.”