California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) 

Reuse Organization Profiles

Food Runners


Food Runners offers businesses the service of recovering their leftover food and delivering it to homeless shelters, soup kitchens, and feeding programs in San Francisco.


Mary Risley, Director of Tante Marie's Cooking School, located in the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco, founded Food Runners in 1987. As someone who did not like to see good food go to waste, Risley began donating surplus food from her cooking classes to nearby shelters. Within a year, volunteers were moving 500 pounds of food per week, using their own vehicles as transport. Currently, they have 250 volunteers delivering the equivalent of 18,000 meals each month to shelters and food programs in need.


Food Runners employs one full-time truck driver, who picks up recovered food during the week, and three part-time co-directors who are responsible for administration, marketing, dispatching, and volunteer/community coordination. They currently operate out of a small, donated office space, sharing many of the day-to-day duties. Food Runners has a small, yet dedicated, Board of Directors as well as an Advisory Board that consists of professionals in the food industry.

Materials Accepted Source of Materials Collection Services Geographic
Service Area
All perishable and prepared foods are accepted for recovery. They do not pick up packaged food. Restaurants, hotels, caterers, special event organizers, wholesalers, etc. Volunteers pick up and deliver once a week, generally from the same donors, and to the same recipients (called a "regular run"). City of San Francisco, 49 square miles.

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Last updated: May 23, 2014
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