Food Runners

Monday, September 30, 2019

101 Runs!

By Joanna Karlinsky

Tory Farms: one of the most prolific donors at Ferry Building Farmers Market, part of my 101 runs.
Restaurant owners don’t throw anything away that can be sold, offered free to guests, given to staff, or taken home to feed the family. Chefs don’t order an ounce more food than they can sell or feed staff with.  We think about food costs every day.  As the chef & restaurant owner of the long-shuttered Meetinghouse, Elite Café and Sweet Jo’s Café I know this well.  In the 30 years I’ve been aware of Foodrunners, I’ve never had leftover or excess food to donate, other than preparing something special for a fundraiser.  I’m retired now and had the occasion to spend my summer here in San Francisco making food run after food run.

Large tech company cafeteria donation. Another of my 101 runs!
I spent my runs getting to know the staff at donor businesses, from tech companies to bakeries, meeting the staff at the recipient agencies, from group homes to veteran’s services, and chatting with those receiving the food. They are always so grateful; the staff (almost) always helpful. The pride that comes with knowing you helped to keep food from the compost bin is very fulfilling.
Kara's Cupcakes. Best ever!
My favorite run, hands down, is Kara’s Cupcakes. You pick up from their manufactory in Dogpatch and they always have more than the church kindergarten can use.  So, I get to decide where to drop off the few other boxes. And I ‘work it’.  I run over to the senior center where the guys come out to help by lining up for a big ‘pass the food’ production. It’s one big box of the best cupcakes in the country. Then next to the All-Star hotel where the residents are always friendly, and full of thanks. Next to the daytime drop-in program at Arriba Juntos where the staff is smiles and jumps up to help when they see me walk in.
Bananas being donated at Mollie Stone's
Last weekend Food Runners dispatch got a call from some very panicked techies at a weekend ‘hackathon’ for girls. Apparently, they’d ordered breakfast for 150 twice. I got there to pick up the extra 20 pans of breakfast and @½ of the uneaten first order. You know how girls eat, right? When I was loading up one lovely young lady came running out to say she thought they’d have lunch leftovers as well.  I returned a bit latter to find 14 FULL buffet pans of Mexican food.  Fantastic until a pan of chicken in mole sauce spilled all over my truck. Honestly... the look on the faces of the people at the 4 group homes I delivered to was totally worth the mole. I have extended my stay in San Francisco through the holidays. I look forward to the food I’ll pick up and relay from parties & events to those with too little to party at all. 
Donation made especially for Food Runners, being picked up at Piperade Restaruant.
Advice: tarp and then put cardboard down on the area you’ll place food for travel. Looking to volunteer but feeling shy?  Just want to gossip about how much fun it is?   Message me and we can talk! Joanna Karlinsky