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December 14, 2004
Food Runners: One Recipe For Giving Back To The Needy & Homeless in San Francisco

home.food.runners.jpg

If you're looking for a way to get involved with the San Francisco community this 2004 holiday season, Food Runners is a recipe worth cooking up.

Food Runners helps alleviate hunger in San Francisco by providing hundreds of restaurants, caterers, markets, bakeries, and other businesses an easy and useful way to donate their excess food.

Their volunteers pick up nutritious food that would otherwise go to waste and deliver it to shelters, neighborhood food programs and other nonprofit organizations through the City.

"Everything about Food Runners is simple," says Pamela Fishman Cianci, who regularly delivers food to the homeless. She has also become such a big believer in the service, she is investing time to help market the non-profit organization.


A Simple Recipe for Success

Founded in 1987, Food Runners currently delivers more than 15 tons of perishable food per week to those who need who are affiliated with one of over 200 local agencies in San Francisco.

By offering nutritious food free of charge, Food Runners help organizations stretch their budgets during the current time of decreasing government and foundation funding.


Who Donates The Food?

Who donates the food?

* Restaurants like Greens, Rubicon, and Piperade

* Hotels like The Marriott, The Hilton, and The Ritz Carlton

* Cafes like Starbucks, Peet's Coffee & Tea and Noah’s Bagels

* Bakeries like Noe Valley Bakery, and Bay Bread Boulangerie

* Caterers like Taste and Paula leDuc

* Markets like Whole Foods, Real Foods, and the S.F. Ferry Plaza Farmers’
Market

* Conventions like the America Bar Association, and the Fancy Food Show

* Hospitals like Laguna Honda, and Kaiser Permanente

* Food photographers like Chris Shorten Photography

* Other food programs like Meals On Wheels and Project Open Hand


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vegetable.basket.jpgOver 250 of your fellow San Franciscans are Food Runners volunteers.

Some do a "regular run." This means they pick up from and deliver to the same locations at least once a week.

Some are on call for one-time runs. Others help with office work, especially if they don't have their own cars.

Most Food Runs take just an hour. Food Runners tries to coordinate each volunteer's run with his or her schedule and location.


Who Receives The Food?

Neighborhood food programs like Haight-Ashbury Food Program, and Martin DePorres receive the food.

Other recipients: Homeless shelters like the Episcopal Sanctuary and Raphael House and Senior centers like The Telegraph Hill Neighborhood Center.

In addition, programs for children and youth such as the Larkin Street Youth Center, A Home Away from Homelessness, family programs such as Talk Line, and Group homes like Connard House are eligible to receive food. It just depends on how much food is provided each week, and who is available to deliver it.


A Simple Way to Help

This holiday season, if you're cooking for six consider making it twelve and call Food Runners.

To donate food:

1. Call their voicemail -- 929.1866 -- and tell them the type and amount of food you want to donate, and they will direct you to the closest place from your home or place of business where you can drop off your donation.

2. If your party is professionally catered, you may have the caterer call Food Runners and they will make arrangements with the caterer to pick up your left-over food.

3. Food Runners does not pick up from private homes. However, if you own a restaurant, package your donation in food-safe containers, and a volunteer will pick it up the same day you call or the next morning.

That's all there is to it!

If your business is a restaurant, consider joining their Planned Overage program.

Participating restaurants use excess food to prepare a hot main course once a week that will serve 25-30 people, the equivalent of about one hotel pan.

A Food Runner will pick up the pan at the same time each week.

Currently more than 30 restaurants in San Francisco are helping feed the hungry each week.


Add Flavor To An Already Successful Recipe

Do you have an hour? Or a heart to help the less fortunate?

To volunteer:

Just call 929.1866 or and someone will call you back to arrange your Food Run.

There is no training required, and all it takes is one hour.

You'll meet wonderful people and help your fellow San Franciscans in a valuable and concrete way.

To receive food for your program:

Call 929.1866 and someone will call you back to discuss the needs of your clientele.


Who Delivers The Food?

To donate funds to Food Runners:

Call 929.1866.

Better yet, visit FoodRunners.org and click on the "Donate Now" button.

The whole process takes less than two minutes.

If you are trying to narrow the options of where to personally dine this holiday season, consider the above organizations who are helping those who need.

If you'll be out of town this holiday season, put June 2nd on your calendar to come out and help. In 1999, Mayor Willie Brown declared that day "Food Runner Day" after founder Mary Risley was recognized by the James Beard Foundation as "Humanitarian of the Year."

Fishman Cianci said, "Food Runners just makes sense. Until the problems leading to hunger are solved, it is our duty as human beings with more than enough to go around, to help distribute overages to those in need."

Thank you Pamela for introducing us to this much needed organization.

Inspire & Be Inspired (R).

Here's to healthy, adventuresome, soulful and "feeding basic needs" living!

~ Jennifer Carolyn King

Posted by jck at December 14, 2004 4:30 AM

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