Food Runners

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

What's Happening Now?

by Mary Risley, Director

Food Runners Meal Program ready for action.
(photo credit: Stephanie Meyer)
Hi Everyone – Thank you so much for your continued support of Food Runners.  You may ask “what has Food Runners been up to since the virus outbreak?” And, here is the answer:

Chef Todd cooking in Mary's kitchen              and in Waller Central kitchen
In the first week of the San Francisco lockdown, a young chef called Todd Corboy contacted me about cooking for the hungry.  So, we started a "Partnership” as they say, where he started cooking from donated food in my kitchen.   He borrowed gigantic pots, stood on a milk crate, and stirred with a gigantic whisk, and made things like chilli and vegetarian soup.  His fellow cooks were Josiah, Marcella, and her sister,  Karlla.  These things were then chilled outdoors on ice and then put into individual containers to distribute to people in need by Food Runners.

     Individual container in fridge                            Ready for distribution
You see, places we normally take food, like Glide, NorthBeachCitizens and Martin DePorres are not allowed to serve meals indoors; so, they are giving individual containers of food to their clients on the sidewalk out front.  Also, there are many low-income apartment buildings were the residents have to stay in their rooms because one or two of the residents have tested positive for the virus.  What Les and Perla and various FR Volunteers are doing is distributing these meals to these agencies and SRO’s to help alleviate hunger.

Sandwiches ready to be individually wrapped for outdoor hand out.
After two weeks, the whole operation was moved to the kitchens of the Waller Center (formerly known as Hamilton Methodist Church) in the Haight.  With a larger kitchen, Todd was able to greatly expand the operation.  With two more cooks and a host of Volunteers, he is now supervising the production of approx. 2,000 meals a day, that is delivered six days a week to agencies feeding the hungry—all from donated food in a donated kitchen.

Former Hamilton Methodist Church now know as the Waller Center
(photo credit: Stephanie Meyer)
In the first couple of week, Food Runners was picking up masses of excess food from bars, restaurants, and deli’s in SF that were closing.  But, now most of the donated food that Todd and his crew is cooking with comes from grocery stores such as Whole Foods, Gus’s Market, and Trader Joe’s.  We also pick up twice a week from the SFProduceMarket.  We are very grateful for ALL THE FOOD that is donated and welcome more.  If you know, anyone with a business in SF with excess food, please tell them about our service.

Volunteers hard at work with Todd (left) and Les (right)
Another really remarkable thing that is happened in the last 4 or 5 weeks, is that we have more than doubled the number of FR Volunteers; from just under 400 to well over 800.  Granted some of the new Volunteers didn’t live or work in SF; and, may go back to work in time; but we are very grateful for the extra help now.  It is truly remarkable how much this calamity has drawn people together and led them to want to help each other.  Not only is Food Runners, expanding by cooking meals for people in need, but we are getting more recognition, more Volunteers, and more money!!!
Thank you everyone so very very much,
Mary S. Risley

Volunteers on the line
(photo credit: Stephanie Meyer)