Food Runners

Thursday, September 22, 2022

A Food Runner Meets Food Fighters

 by Suzanne Brais, Volunteer

On February 24, 2022, when Putin began his military operation in Ukraine, millions of Ukrainian residents mobilized either to defend their country or to escape the horrors that were to come.  Within three days of the first attacks, World Central Kitchen (WCK) set up operations in Poland and supported the millions of refugees leaving their homes, fleeing the bombing and streaming across the Polish border. Initially, WCK distributed hot soup, tea, coffee and hot chocolate to any and all as soon as they crossed the border. The warm beverages were a welcome relief for the many that had travelled through the cold winter weather.

WCK is dedicated to “immediately serving chef-prepared meals to communities impacted by natural disasters and prolonged humanitarian crises”. As a Food Runner, I had closely followed the work of WCK’s charismatic founder José Andrés since WCK’s ethos is much like that of Food Runners. Like Food Runners, WCK believes in the power of a fresh hot quality meal, well served, to restore and bolster someone’s sense of dignity. Also, like Food Runners, WCK is firmly based in the restaurant sector and works with those who are selling and producing food for the local market.  I wanted to see how it worked up close, with a view from the ground and to see if it really was so special. The short answer is: yes!

The picture above shows the scale and coverage of the WCK operation outside of the Ukraine as of the beginning of May 2022. Within the Ukraine, WCK has worked tirelessly through local restaurants and chefs to provide free meals to the internally displaced and also to deliver bags of groceries to those residents caught on the front lines.

WCK’s work in Poland was centered out of Przemysl. The closest large town to the border,  Przemysl has a main train station and numerous highways radiating across Europe. This became a main staging post for refugees to rest, recoup and plan their onward travel. Two weeks after the war began, WCK set up a relief kitchen in Przemysl with 12 massive paella pans, 12 ovens and eventually a large walk-in fridge. The idea was to use local food production channels to greet the refugees who had left the comforts of their home and could no longer access hot, nutritious meals. Chefs from Poland and around the world responded.  Over the next 5 months, 1,500 volunteers along with 112 local partners served over 11.5 million meals to people in Poland alone. My Chef friend E and I were just two of that team. 

E and I found two placements in “distribution” on the WCK’s efficient online sign-up site for a month’s time and set about booking flights.  Through E’s chefs’ network, we reached out to @chefmarcmurphy who was already in Przemysl and apparently working in the WCK kitchen. He is a man of few words. He texted us the name and number of a contact who could help with accommodation and answered our multitude of questions of what to bring with simply: “Bring apron."

The Tesco Center
Once in Przemysl, E and I were assigned to two placements: one in the recommissioned Tesco shopping centre on the outskirts of town and the other in the WCK field kitchen closer to the train station. No photographs were allowed in the Tesco, so here is my best effort to relay the scene: 

As five o’clock came around and we unpacked the dinner meal, a delicious chicken in mushroom and onion sauce, potatoes (always a favorite) and salad, I surveyed the scene inside the Przemysl Humanitarian Centre.  The Tesco, as the Humanitarian Centre was known,  was once a shopping mall on the outskirts of town, anchored by a Tesco grocery store. When the refugee crisis began, it was commissioned by the civic government to house the humanitarian response.

From my vantage point behind the hot food serving counter in the WCK Cafe corner of the Tesco, I looked out over our forecourt of 10 or so tables with cafe chairs and the bubbling scene of families and individuals eating. Behind me, E was working the panini “sweat-box”, as we affectionately called it, toasting paninis just right so that the cheese was melted and the crust crisp.  To my right, inside the expanse of what was the Tesco proper, was the sleeping room with thousands of camp beds where everything was swept, cleaned and disinfected daily by an army of young volunteers and, once a week, by the real US army.  Straight ahead, beyond the low wooden demarcation of our cafe, down the mall walkway of what once would have been other shops, hung flags from various countries around the world. Under each flag, there was a desk, a person and computer, ready to match refugees with home country welcome programs. The shop spaces had been converted into a first aid station (with crazy amounts of random donated pharmaceuticals), a TV room, a Lego and toy room, a crèche, a counselling room and several rooms of beds specifically allocated to groups of refugees who were about to move as a group to their next country. I waved at Adam - a smiley volunteer from Kansas who staffed the pet-sitter station - he lay half in/half out of a dog cage trying to calm a large hound while its owner showered or ate. That young man was never discouraged, no matter how loud or agitated his charges became. A soccer ball flew through the air above Adam’s station and some young teens careened the tight mall corner on rolling skates. Clearly, the sugar rush of the sweets handed out by the Polish WCK “cookie lady” had kicked in. We still had many hours to go before the end of our 12 hour shift.

At the opposite end of the mall, we could see a line of newly-arrived registering and getting their wrist tags: they were people from all walks of life: farming families, young urban families and their elderly, tech workers, mothers and daughters mainly…warm faces, worn faces, anguished faces, exhausted faces. Entry to the Tesco was tightly controlled. During our time, many of the refugees came from the South and the West, from Malitopul for example. It takes a week so, Sebastian our Polish restauranteur/leader told us,  for the waves of refugees to arrive at the Polish border from wherever they may have left their homes and loved ones. 

I looked at the individuals sitting in our cafe. They were 24 to 72 hours ahead of the incoming crew in their long journey to somewhere that is not their home. Where should they go? How far away should they go? Should they go with a group or on their own? Should they go by train, bus or car? Some had friends or contacts that they were heading to, most who paused at the Tesco did not. And yet, over their time at the Tesco, most developed a plan.

Most went on to European countries, a few considered North America but most deemed it too far for they hoped to return as soon as possible to their country. The European Union countries were quick to allow any Ukrainian holding a passport with an exit stamp after February 24th to travel for free within the EU and to freely access health care, social care, employment opportunities and education for their children all over the EU. 

In the Tesco parking lot, a fleet of brand-new German Audi A5s and even a hockey team touring bus were waiting to carry Ukrainians to their next stops across Europe. Regular shuttles went to the train station. Main urban centres such as Munich and Berlin were already flooded with refugees so countries donated transport to move new groups directly to the smaller town destinations.  The Danish government representative would come to us and discuss, over servings of sausage in vegetable sauce, how he was trying to get “his” group out and which ferry they could make to Denmark. He was a super nice guy and, when the time came, a nice group of Ukrainians went with him. Many made a point of coming over to us and giving us hugs and thanks before leaving - tucking a few warm paninis under their arms for the 36 hour bus trip.

The Polish operation of WCK was unlike any other in its use of volunteers. In the field kitchen, there were perhaps 15 chefs on the Hot Side (read paella pans and ovens), cooking daily soups, meals and baked goods and about 30 chefs and ordinary folk like us on the Cold Side mainly tasked with assembling thousands of calorie rich paninis with delicious meat and vegetarian options each day. In our time in the kitchen, the professional side was run by a quiet Frenchman rumoured to have worked at a famous 5 star restaurant in Northern Spain. The talent coordinator, who lined up the senior chefs into the future, was the manager from Single Thread.

In the kitchen, as rock music blared, the Cold Side mantra was “bun, schmear, salami, peppers, cheese, bun”.  Four times a day, trucks full of insulated containers with the freshly produced meals and fresh fruit left the field kitchen and travelled to over 20 sites across Poland, which mainly consisted of the Tesco center, train stations and border crossings. WCK operated similar efforts in Romania, Moldova, Slovakia, Hungary, Germany and Spain but not to the same extent.

The lunch and dinner menus included: chicken in vegetable sauce, rice and steamed vegetables, sausages in a tomato onion sauce with potatoes and salad, pasta with mushroom sauce and vegetables. There was always lots of bread, a fresh soup, fresh fruit and freshly baked cakes.

The food order and necessary quantities were updated frequently. A breakfast oatmeal, which was perfectly spiced (a recipe one of the Chefs brought from the Four Seasons in Philadelphia), was a big hit with the volunteers but was not a favourite with Ukrainians. It was subsequently discontinued. When we asked for more fresh vegetables, such as the delicious cucumber and sour cream and dill salad that had been consumed very quickly, the Chef laughed: “there were more 5-star Chefs in the kitchen chopping cucumbers as fast as they could than I have ever seen.”

World Central Kitchen Background
World Central Kitchen grew out of DC Central Kitchen, an organization founded in Washington DC, by Robert Egger in 1989. Instead of simply picking up wasting food and turning it into balanced meals for the homeless shelters in DC, it used that process to help unemployed Washingtonians trade homelessness and addiction for real careers in the culinary industry. It has delivered dignified meals to the city’s homeless shelters for over 30 years on contract. 

Spaniard chef José Andrés first walked into DC central kitchen in 1994: “ A young immigrant cook searching for my place in the new city and the world” he says. Years later, as Owner of ThinkFoodGroup, the charismatic Chef was also Chair of DC Central Kitchen. When an earthquake devastated Haiti in 2010, Andrés went to cook alongside displaced Haitians in a camp and found himself learning how to cook food the way locals like it. He calls food “a plate of hope”. Since then, disaster after fire, WCK has orchestrated food support. The Ukrainian operation is its first war response and it has been huge in scale. The Polish operation has now closed as the stream of refugees out of Ukraine has lessened but the focus is very much on working within Ukraine with Ukrainians.
Recently, Jeff Bezos has donated a $100 million “Courage and Civility prize” to José Andrés who in turn gave it to WCK. This has boosted their operations. The organization is now active in responding to the fires in California, the floods in Kentucky and events in such areas as Pakistan, Puerto Rico and the Mexican border. In his acceptance speech, Andrés said ”World Central Kitchen was born from the simple idea that food has the power to create a better world. A plate of food is a plate of hope…it’s the fastest way to rebuild lives and communities….people don’t want our pity, they want our respect…the least we can do is be next to them when things are tough…” 

This last line in particular echoed something that an elderly man had said to E and me as we were leaving the Tesco centre one evening. We were by the outside cafe area saying goodbye to our Tesco colleagues, I asked E if she felt it made any difference that we were in Poland as compared to WCK employing  more Polish personnel.  An elderly gentleman looked directly at me and said quite clearly in his best English: “It is very important you (pointing at E and me) are here.”   I guess his answer echoed Andrés’ line that we were there to “respect, witness and being next to people when times are tough”. I would argue that Food Runners plays this same crucial role in San Francisco as it delivers “a plate of hope” to those it serves daily across the city.

The End.

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

One Run at a Time

by Cito Garcia, Volunteer &
Recent Weekend Dispatcher

Preamble: Cito Garcia is a Junior at Urban High School. He is a part of the class of '23.  Cito first learned about Food Runners during the the pandemic. Both of his parents work at Nopa restaurant and Food Runners played a huge role in their ability to stay up and running during the lockdown. Cito served as Food Runners weekend dispatcher this Spring from February through April. This is Cito's Food Runners story in his own words.

Working with Food Runners has been one of the best opportunities of my life. When I first learned of the organization, I was fascinated. The concept of an organization that is able to address so many different issues in San Francisco on a very fundamental, hands-on level was, to say the least, very appealing to me.

Cito's mom's car filled with donations picked up by Cito on one of his food runs
Naturally, I signed up to do a food run. Then another, and another. Suddenly, three times a week I would find myself conveniently doing runs on my way home from school. And that is the thing that stands out about this organization to me. The simple, accessible action of picking up and dropping off two-three bags of food meaningfully addresses not only the issue of food waste, but also food insecurity in places where it matters, allowing organizations throughout the city to function effectively.

Cito dispatching from his kitchen on a recent weekend.
That is why I decided to dispatch for Food Runners. I wanted to be a part of something bigger, to help fight this prevalent issue in our community. And while I am sad to step down from this position, I look back at my time dispatching for Food Runners with nothing but great pride and satisfaction. From the quick hellos to the more indepth connections I have made with donors, recipients, and volunteers alike, I will never forget the time I have spent dispatching for Food Runners. Because above all else, I have both discovered and experienced a new way to engage with my community effectively in ways I had never thought possible before.

That being said, my time is not over. While I will no longer be dispatching, you will undoubtedly find me taking runs on my way home from school or on the weekends. Because, after all, the key to ending food waste is for each of us to step up and do our part, one run at a time.

Monday, March 14, 2022

Two Vans & a Truck

 by Nancy Hahn
Retired Food Runners Dispatcher

Neither hills, nor traffic, nor COVID, nor lack of legal parking stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.

FR Truck Driver Jose J. wheeling out a big load from Whole Foods Potrero
One of the first things the Food Runners dispatcher needs to know when directing a food donation is: “will it fit in a car?” If the answer is, “no,” the donation gets assigned to the Food Runners truck or one of the two Food Runners vans, depending on the size and location of the donation. Driving one of these vehicles for Food Runners is no ordinary pick up/delivery job. It is special. Just ask Truck Driver, José Juarez and Van Drivers, Marvin Vega and José Cisneros. They all feel lucky to drive for Food Runners despite the heavy lifting involved and the challenges of driving in our congested city that offers few parking options.

Van Driver Jose Cisneros on delivery
All three drivers start their rounds at 8AM. All three drive approximately eight hours per day. The Food Runners truck picks up the biggest loads. For example: according to José J., a typical Trader Joe’s donation consists of 18-25 boxes filled with a variety of items including produce, frozen foods, prepared foods, groceries and more. The vans are responsible for picking up and delivering the bulk of the 2,000+ meals created daily at the Food Runners Meal Program. Volunteers prepare, box and label the meals under the direction of Meal Program Chef, Fernando Zapato. In addition, the vans are assigned to pick-ups like Google Headquarters and Twitter where José C. reports an average pick up of 15-25 large foil trays of prepared food from the company cafeterias. That’s enough to feed 50-75 people at a time.

Van Driver Marvin V. unloading a grocery store donation
Where to park, where to park… an eternal San Francisco conundrum. At the Apollo Hotel on Valencia between 15th and 16th, one of Marvin’s regular deliveries, there is a very busy bike lane out front and nary a parking space, even a yellow zone, within a block. The solution? As both of the Josés do at locations of similar circumstance, Marvin contacts a designated on-site point person with his ETA when on the way.  He then arrives to a team of eager helpers waiting for him curbside where they collectively unload quicker than a meter maid can whip out a ticket book. José C. experiences a like scene at City Team on 6th Street between Mission and Howard. A quick phone call before arrival assures a rapid off-load that always includes City Team offering Jose of a cup of coffee or bottle of water for the road. The drivers follow the same type of call-ahead protocol with donors in difficult parking areas such as Proper Food at 116 Montgomery Street.

Van Driver Jose C. delivering to North Beach Citizens
Driving the truck or one of the vans for Food Runners is more than just a job. It’s a mission. The thing that all three drivers like best about their work is seeing the smiling faces of those in need being served. José J. has been driving the Food Runners truck for seven and a half years and he will tell you that helping feed his fellow citizens in need never gets old. Van Driver Marvin states simply, “The greatest satisfaction is that people are happy when I arrive and when they see the Food Runners van, they get excited. And, for me, that makes my heart happy.” When asked what his favorite thing about driving the Food Runners van is, José C, the newest of the three drivers, recounts, “My favorite thing about my job is being a part of this organization that helps people that live in the street or in another place.” When asked what makes the job special for him, José C replies, “I wonder to see many Volunteers* giving their time to feed people in our city. It’s special for me because, being an immigrant from El Salvador, it makes happy to give back a little to this community. I don’t consider myself only a driver, I feel more than that. Sometimes, the only food people will get during a day is our [Food Runners] food. Bringing something to those people makes me especiál.” Mission accomplished!
* Food Runners Meal Program Volunteers

Van Driver Jose C. feeling "especiál"

Wednesday, February 23, 2022


Vicki Ehrlich, Volunteer

Food give away in progress at North Beach Citizens
I found out about Food Runners in the summer of 2020, when, in one of the endless pandemic Zoom meetings that were taking the place of work at the San Francisco Opera, there was a discussion in the Orchestra about ways we could reach out to our community.  One colleague had volunteered in the Food Runners kitchen and had had a great, friendly experience.  It was easy to look them up and sign up, and I went for driving, thinking that at my rather advanced age I would err on the side of caution in the pre-vax times, and I was curious to see where the food was going.  (I was also driving and packing for the SF-Marin Food Bank, whose copious bags go to housed individuals and families.)  By driving various routes, I learned about some of the destinations of the tantalizing-scented entrees and desserts, plus often fresh fruits, salads, and donated fancy baked goods:
  • North Beach Citizens, a neighborhood treasure on Kearny St. offering food, clothing, housing advice and employment help.  (As a contrast often seen in San Francisco, they are right across the street from Larry Flynt’s Hustler Club, who “NBC” told me is a great neighbor and frequent donor.) 
Food pantry day at orth Beach Citizens. Food deliveries by Food Runners.
  • (Name and location withheld for security), a shelter for domestic abuse victims, which has an elaborate spy-like drop off routine involving cameras, safehouses, and no in-person contact with the drivers. In a quiet, unsuspecting neighborhood, it did seem very safe.
  • City Impact's S.F. Rescue Mission, another full-service charity. My drop off there approaches through hopeless-looking streets lined with boarded-up businesses, encampments, and litter, but the place itself has the cozy, cheery atmosphere of a social club, and I admiringly watch their highly organized welcome to all who enter.
S.F. Rescue Mission aka City Impact
Telegraph Hill Neighborhood Center
I have a few regulars, both volunteers and beneficiaries, I chat with, and who kindly offer to carry boxes, guard the car, give parking advice, and my favorite, talk about their lives.  Sometimes we don’t speak a common language, and the words, “Food Runners,” plus a lot of miming on both sides gets me in the right door.  We are friends who probably never would have met otherwise.  As one of many drivers who crisscross the city between donors, the kitchen, and drop off sites, I know there are so many other creative, local, connected groups who have found a way to make SOMETHING better in a world that the news tells us is going down the toilet.  We can make the news liars!

Friday, January 14, 2022

In the Food Runners Kitchen

by Leah Garchik

Stacks of baked bread pudding, awaiting apportioning and distributing

It is elemental, inevitable, metaphysical, existential, definitive. Everyone who works or volunteers at Food Runners comes face-to-face, nose-to-nose, eye-to-eye and hand-to-hand with the bread pudding: chopping up ingredients, stirring the lava-like mass, scoping it into/onto baking sheets, slicing it, plopping it into cardboard boxes, packing the boxes into cartons and keeping track of the numbers on the whiteboard.

The bread pudding ingredients, awaiting mixing and baking

It was the morning of my first volunteer shift and the bread pudding had been baked, its metal trays solidly stacked on a a multi-storied cart, each slab cut into twelfths in preparation for dividing. And dispensing.. Bread pudding, savory or sweet, created by the chefs with whatever ingredients are on hand, is a foundation for the Food Runners pyramid of provisions. At least one corner of the prep room at Food Runners is often piled high with bread stuffs of a certain age, past their prime but no less usable (a description that also applies to me, the volunteer). Bagels go into savory pudding; doughnuts into sweet.

Cook gives bagels the bread pudding treatment.  

To call the resulting bread pudding “hearty” is something like referring to King Kong as a monkey. The pudding provides vital nutrition to those who need it, but with some bending of the building codes, it would also be suitable for packing into the foundations of the Millennium Tower, providing fortification that would solve its structural problems.

Out of the oven on its way to be divided

That first chore was confidence-building. it wasn’t hard to jam slabs of the pudding into rectangular boxes. There was even comic relief, in the last step of the boxing process, when one volunteer or another poured sticky fruit syrup of chocolate sauce over the top of each slice. A tasteful drizzle of this stuff was dispensed through nozzles on top of tall plastic bottles, which make rude-sounding snorts when nearly empty. I giggled like a fourth-grader.

Volunteer Terry Horrigan squirts the sauce onto the  bread pudding

As to the next chore, it took me a few shifts to determine that a push of my gloved paws was key to success at closing the boxes. At some point in the Food Runners experience, every volunteer comes to a crossroads. It is necessary for each to decide whether s/he is an innie or an outie. This has nothing to do with one’s belly button, but is the determining factor of how one closes the small rectangular boxes into which main courses – and bread pudding and bread pudding and bread pudding – are usually packed.

Cook Sandra Zapata on the bread pudding team

The first few times I was assigned this, I’d glance right and left, studying the methods of the experienced workers. Some slid the tab under the slot, threading it upwards. Others pushed it down through the slot, a method that held best if, upon completing that maneuver, you gave both sides of the flaps a gentle shove. Observation and practice seemed to indicate that I was an innie.

An example of the "innie" box

In much the same trial-and-error way, I learned the morning I graduated to taping that it was all in a flick of the wrist. After more than a year volunteering at Food Runners – no big altruism, only one shift a week apportioning food and packing it up, peeling and dicing vegetables – I’d been promoted. At least that’s the way I chose to see the new assignment.

The shift supervisor showed me a tower of banana boxes and handed me a tape dispenser, a wicked-looking tool that was new to me. The banana box, just the right size for packing boxed shipments of food, had a rectangular opening in its bottom. The object, I was shown, is to criss-cross tape at right angles, sticky side up, making it possible to insert a rectangular cardboard patch that fills the hole, thereby creating a suitable carrier for 30 or so individual portions of food. Simple enough.

Banana box tower

I pulled up my mask, made sure my gloves were clean and started my task, overconfidently, it turned out. My first efforts resulted in macramed tangles of sticky tape that creased and affixed itself to other parts of itself as it lurched off the dispenser, resulting in shameful cellophane clots that rendered it only marginally useful for the job. It was as though the tape was laughing at me.

I was working at a table with other volunteers, and I quickly peeked sideways to see if anyone was looking. They seemed to be concentrating on their own jobs. No one said “ bad job,” or “gee, that’s a lot of tape to be wasting” or even a general “Here, let me show you how to do it.” I’d gotten at least 90 seconds of training, and I was on my own, messing up. It took me 10 minutes, which felt like a humiliating year, until I figured out how to dance to the rhythm of the job – stab, pull, twist wrist to force the misbehaving tape into the maw of the metal teeth that would cut it off – that someone said something: “There you go.”

Chef cooking radishes

I was particularly clumsy, but the truth was that the job didn’t need finesse; it didn’t need pondering. The goal, from the first day I walked into the facility, was clear, getting food to hungry people. Get masked, get washed, get gloved, get going. There’s no kissing up to a boss, no hiding the knots of wasted tape. Nobody’s polishing apples in hopes of getting a raise. Everybody pulls in the same direction, harnessed to the same plow. There are hungry people, there is excess food. The volunteers and the kitchen staff alike aim to use the latter to eliminate the former. Two thousand meals a day are turned out. It’s that simple.

Fernando Zapata, who is in charge of the kitchen, told me there’s never been need to tell anyone their work isn’t good enough or needs improvement. “Everyone does their best. ... no problems. Everyone is happy, and everyone works hard.”

Volunteer Shonna Enson dishes up servings of pasta chicken

You’re part of a team at the Food Runners kitchen, and you work after getting a few minutes demonstration from chef Fernando or one of the other cooks, then by watching what the person next to you is doing, or remembering what the person next to you did the last time you worked a shift. After a few sessions, you don’t need anyone to suggest that you could help by spreading the containers out on the table or writing out a bunch of labels for the boxes in which containers of food will be packed.

Volunteer Richard Horrigan collaborates on the pasta chicken

There is no training manual; there is no employee evaluation, there is no corporate bureaucracy, from the way you sign up to the way you sign in for whatever shift on whatever day you like, to the moment you walk out the door, on a good day with some delicious day-old pastry in hand.

Sometimes we volunteers talk, trading information about kids, jobs, neighborhoods. Sometimes we work silently side by side; that seems as compatible as conversation. Some of the volunteers speak good enough Spanish to chat with the cooks. My Spanish is to their Spanish as, well, my knife skills are to their knife skills.

Cook Santiago Camara tackles a pile of string beans

Without ever having to talk about a structural chart, it’s clear that the cooks are the ones in charge. We wannabe do-gooders do the kitchen scut-work, as directed by them. It’s a refreshing turnaround from the familiar San Francisco restaurant, where as patrons, many of the volunteers are used to being served by kitchen staff. At Food Runners, we volunteers serve the kitchen staff.

Cook Andres Mena slices potatoes

The only clash I have ever witnessed or heard is aural. Mexican music is played in the kitchen, and sometimes it is played at the same time that pop music is played in the prep room. Listening to both at once is like trying to dance to two kinds of music at once. two kinds of music at once is like trying to tap dance and do ballet at the same time. I have, on occasion, retreated to a far corner of the prep room (which has its advantage, namely proximity to the snack table).

Cook Edwin Manruque husks ears of corn

I started volunteering to satisfy an early-pandemic instinct, to find something useful to do while waiting for this horror to go away. I was looking for something in which volunteers’ efforts had a beginning, middle and an end (even if that end i’s as unimpressive as half-filling a plastic tub with peeled potatoes).

Tubs of vegetarian fried rice

The pandemic grinds on, flowing and waning with each new variant, Food Runners remains constant, a need to be filled, a goal to be met. It’s been an emotional balm.. The volunteers are decent people doing decent work with food that would be otherwise wasted. It’s good for the soul ... and it’s good for the wrists. I am as one with that tape dispenser.