Food Runners

Thursday, November 7, 2019

What it Means to Me

By Mary Risley, Director

As I approach my 80th Birthday, I have been thinking about how fortunate I am!  Just think I could have been born into a family with an absent father and an addicted mother; I could have been born into a family where all the kids were born before the mother was 24 years old; or, I could have been born with mental health problems and no possible care.  Nothing is for sure in this world!  I could be an addict myself hanging out around the corner; I could be cleaning houses for a living; or, I could be living on the streets in San Francisco, unable to take care of myself responsibly.  So could we all!  I sincerely believe that not living on the streets is a matter of having good luck; making good decisions; and having the right guidance in life.

As a resident of San Francisco for the last 50 years, I still don’t know what I can do to help the homeless with housing; but, what I do know is I can help get them food.  And so can you!  Thanks so much to the Volunteers, one paid truck driver, and several part-time couriers of Food Runners who, together, are making almost 700 food runs a week which amounts to approximately 18 tons of perishable and prepared foods to agencies feeding the hungry in San Francisco.

If I were living on the streets, one place for sure I could count on for help is a drop-in center on Kearny near Broadway.  Although they do not cook here, they put out donated food every weekday and offer it to anyone who comes in.  They also help clients find housing, perhaps part-time work, and they host a Food Pantry once a week, where people can get a bag of groceries.  So, far 350 people have transitioned from the streets to housing through North Beach Citizens since it started in 1971.

Here is a photo of Food Runner Volunteer, Andy Chen, delivering donated food from the Ritz-Carlton Hotel on Nob Hill last Monday.  Food Runner Volunteers pick up from the Ritz every day of the week, leftover food that they store on a rolling cart in the walk-in until picked up by a Food Runner Volunteer at the loading dock on California St.

f I were living on the streets near the freeway, I would hang out and eat at Martin de Porres.  It has a welcoming and sharing atmosphere.  The Volunteers of Martins do the cooking mostly with donated food and help serve daytime meals 7 days a week to over 300 guests each day.

Here is a photo of what Dennis Curry picked up at Noe Valley Farmers Market last Saturdays and delivered to Martin de Porres on Potrero near 16th St.  This is a wonderful drop-in center where guests can also hang out in the courtyard, get showers, and receive mail.  It first opened in 1971.

Currently, Food Runners is delivering this 18 tons of food each week to over 300 agencies feeding the hungry in San Francisco.  Here for you are two of my favourite feeding programs.  You too can become a Food Runner Volunteer and help get donated food to people in need.  And, you can tell your friends about out remarkable non-profit grassroots organization, which soon will begin our 33rd year.  Better still, send money and/or ask your friends to  donate through

Thanks so very much for your continued support,  Mary