Food Runners

Friday, May 3, 2019

Volunteering with Our Hands and Our Hearts

by Eileen Wong
Food Runners Weekend Dispatcher

Donna W. loading donations at the Ferry Building Farmers Market
They’re strong, they’re kind, they’re humble and they’re compassionate. Who are they? They are our Food Runners volunteers. They pack the food in their cars to deliver to our neighborhood feeding programs.   What would Food Runners do without them?

We wouldn’t be possible. We simply could never afford to support thousands of San Franciscans without the generosity and talent offered by our volunteers.  Some do their runs solo, some with partners or friends, some as a family, but whatever form they choose for their runs, the impact they bring to our neighborhoods is truly inspiring.

Food Runners Volunteer Appreciation Party in full swing, 4.17.2019
To show appreciation to the volunteers, Mary Risley, hosts a gathering at her residence twice a year. We enjoy libations, light supper.  We meet, mingle, and share our Food Runners stories with one another. Like Jaime’s story from the most recent Volunteer gathering on April 17.  Jaime told about her food run delivering food to North Beach Citizens on Kearny near Broadway one bright, sunny morning. While unloading the food, her activity caught the eye of a dapper young man passing by. He inquired as to her mission which led to which led to discussion of her community service and ended with the two making plans for a dinner date.

Volunteers enjoying the party. Clockwise from top left: FR Director Mary Risley &
Mark B. Dave R & Priscilla S.  Les T. & Sue L. Mat R & Tory M.
After performing one of her very first runs, Volunteer Jodi shared her story via email. "I grew up in the Sunset, where yesterday's run was. Lycee Francais [the pick up location] used to be the Conservatory of Music and I took summer classes there for a couple of years as a kid. More recently I went to a number of chamber music concerts there with my parents before the Conservatory moved. Now my mom is in assisted living two blocks away. Edgewood Center, where I delivered the food,  started out as an orphanage. My mother escaped the Nazis on the Kindertransport (from Vienna), and when she and her brother came to the States, they spent time at Edgewood. When I was telling the guys who helped me unload the food this story, one of them said his father had escaped Czechoslovakia on the Kindertransport. (The Kindertransport saved close to 10,000 Jewish children during the war.)

More Volunteers chillin' at the party.
There’s no doubt how incredibly grateful we are for all that Food Runners Volunteers do.  Not only do they deliver food, but they also deliver love, kindness and commitment in the quest to alleviate hunger in our communities and make wasted food a thing of the past.