Living Our Values – Cindy Parker’s Service Day
On Thursday, May 7, I worked a 2-hour shift with other volunteers in the first-ever Food Runners kitchen at the Waller Center in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood in San Francisco. My assignment was cleaning and cutting up a full box of scallions. Other volunteers were slicing bread, making sandwiches, ladling soup, and packing the prepared foods into delivery boxes. This new kitchen operation is staffed by 24 volunteers daily across 4 shifts, with 2 vans and a refrigerated storage container in the parking lot. My shift working in the Food Runners kitchen was rewarding to help feed the hungry in the community.
The mission of Food Runners is to help alleviate hunger in San Francisco, to help prevent food waste, and to help create community. Food Runners picks up excess perishable and prepared food from businesses such as restaurants, caterers, bakeries, hospitals, event planners, corporate cafeterias, and hotels and delivers it directly to neighborhood food programs. Before the pandemic, Food Runners was picking up about 3 tons of donated food per week from the tech companies in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood alone. Those donations all but disappeared with the businesses closing in mid-March, but the demand for prepared meals steadily grew. In addition, many of the charitable organizations that received the donated, prepared foods from Food Runners were congregate meal sites that had to convert to take-out meals. Like so many other businesses, the pandemic forced Food Runners to change how they do business. So, with the help of grocery stores, wholesale markets, and primary produce markets that have continued to contribute food to the organization, Food Runners has been operating since April 1 in the donated kitchen at the Waller Center to continue to further its mission.
National Accounts Manager