Food Runners

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

What It Means to Me

by Mary S. Risley

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 bike 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. This is enough food for 24,000 meals a week!

I fully realize how many requests for money you get each year; but, please, please help support our remarkably efficient grassroots non-profit organization, which soon will begin its 33rd year.   Please send a check to Food Runners, 2579 Washington St., SF, CA 94115.  Or, donate through

Mary S. Risley, Director

Monday, January 13, 2020

A Food Runners Christmas Carol

by Linda Murley, Executive Director

When I was a little girl my mother was a Sunday school teacher and I was one of her pupils. I remember coloring bible story pictures: a star, a manger, a donkey, a lamb.

Union Square at Christmas
I stopped going to Sunday school when my mom became a Lou Reed groupie, (it was the 60’s)but  Sunday mornings have remained a time for reflection. I do a food run on Sundays and this holiday season has been especially rewarding. My run is from Haight St. Market to an adult rehab program. These programs, along with the homeless shelters and soup kitchens in the city are sanctuaries for the people who come there to rest, sleep, eat.

The sign outside Walden house offering sanctuary.
On December 24th Food Runners’ staff and volunteers saddled up our reindeer and took donations of food to recipient agencies serving those in need. Two programs who feed the homeless: City Team feeds between 100-175 people daily and the Bayshore Navigation Center feeds from 60-100 people daily, depended on Food Runners to supplement their Christmas eve meal offering. Proper Foods, a prolific donor of beautiful and delicious prepared meals, had overestimated the downtown workforce buying lunch on the 24th and had dozens and dozens of meals to donate. A volunteer picked up 400 dinners leftover from a fundraiser, Susie Cakes donated hundreds of cookies and cakes.

AIDS Foundation donation.
Food Runners took donations of food to Arriba Juntos, The Castro Senior Center, the Community Justice Center, the Epiphany Center, the Mission YMCA, Mother Theresa’s soup kitchen, the Sanctuary, the Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation program, Veteran’s Academy in the Presidio and many others.

Noe Valley Christmas Lights
The Holidays are a time of year when food and volunteering converge. You should know, that with your help, Food Runners’ completes 700 food runs and relays 18 tons of food each week. We do this every week, so I guess you could say we celebrate the spirit of Christmas all year round.

To help with your New year’s resolutions, we present the following research by the Mayo clinic. The 6 health benefits of volunteering:

1. Volunteering decreases the risk of depression.
2. Volunteering gives a sense of purpose and teaches valuable skills.
3. Volunteering helps people stay physically and mentally active.
4. Volunteering may reduce stress levels.
5. Volunteering may help you live longer.
6. Volunteering helps you meet others and develop new relationships

Volunteer Rori Reber picking up the donations at Piperade Restaurant.
I personally think volunteering helps strengthen the empathy factor that seems lacking in some of us today. Sharing and empathy are like any skill…like playing the violin for example. If we do not practice, the music we make on the violin is discordant. If we do not practice kindness and service to others --the music of life -- we can become discordant humans. 

Too another year full of the music and food runs!