Food Runners

Monday, February 19, 2018

Letter from The Director

Mary Risley
Food Runners Director

Thank you so much for your financial support this year.  Food Runners is still an amazingly efficient volunteer organization.  For an annual budget of under $400,000, the Volunteers, one full-time truck driver, one part-time driver in his own van, and a couple of bike couriers are delivering enough food to provide 3,000 meals a day to agencies feeding the hungry in San Francisco.  We can’t do it without your help!  The reason we are slowly moving to paying drivers to pick up and deliver excess perishable and prepared food in our city is that the traffic in the financial district and South of Market is overwhelming and many of our younger Volunteers don’t have cars.  We do, however, have a few who deliver food on foot, on a bike, or in a Lyft; but as you know it’’s harder and harder to get around San Francisco. 

Loading the donations at Google SF
Maybe, the young people who work in our booming tech industry are not driving, but they sure are enthusiastic about preventing waste and helping feed the hungry.  In the last few years, Food Runners literally has been picking up masses of food from such companies as Twitter, Google, Zynga, Pinterest, Stripe, Cisco Meraki, LinkedIn and Airbnb.

What happens is that a lot of the tech companies provide food for their employees (and sometimes guests) for lunch and later on in the day.  Sometimes, it is cooked by in-house food management companies such as Bon Appetit Management Co. or Guckenheimer and sometimes it is catered food brought in by outside companies such as Cater2me, Chewse, and ZeroCater . Or sometimes, it is complete individually packaged meals delivered to offices by companies like EAT Club, an on-demand lunch delivery service supplying meals to offices in  the Financial District and SOMA; and Thistle, a subscription home and office meal delivery service featuring healthy, plant based ingredients and pressed juices.  One thing for sure is that it is usually in abundance and delicious with many, many choices.

Donations from Thistle
Food Runners works hard to spread all this incredible bounty to a wide variety of programs including City Team, a program serving nightly dinner in the 6th Street corridor to anyone who comes to their door; North Beach Citizens an organization helping neighbors in North Beach transition from homelessness to housing and from crisis to community and Derek Silva Community, a program for people living with disabling HIV/AIDS that provides the security of permanent, subsidized housing to its residents, allowing them to focus on their medical treatments, relevant mental health issues, and/or substance abuse issues without the threat of homelessness. The ability to serve healthful food to so many more people than ever before means so much to the recipient agencies  

I have been fortunate this summer and fall to be a guest for lunch at LinkedIn; Twitter; and Google (the San Francisco office) and I can assure you, the offerings are magnificent.  Sometimes the employees pay for their meals, but more often they are free.  I also ate lunch at a meal provider called Thistle, which must be a fun company to work for.  I gave talks to the employees of these companies about food waste and food recovery in San Francisco.  Thank you everyone for donating such wonderful, nutritious to Food Runners; and thank you for hosting me!

Donations from Google SF
Where is Food Runners going from here?  We could really use your help!  If you know anyone who is recently retired or between jobs, suggest to them they become a Volunteer for Food Runners.  It’s is a wonderful way to get to know our community and to get a sense of helping others.  And, if you know any looking to donate financially to a worthy non-profit in San Francisco, please introduce them to Food Runners.  We do, indeed, need more financial support to help pay for this modest expansion, in other words the paid drivers and couriers.  Again, thank you so much for so many years about caring about feeding the hungry in our community, Gratefully, Mary.