“In my first career, where I focused on serving teachers and learners, and in my second career, where I focused on serving families, I saw a fundamental truth over and over again: if our basic needs are not met, we cannot thrive. Kids can’t learn, working-age adults can’t find jobs and hold their heads high, elders can’t age in place actively and with dignity. And there are few more basic needs than nutritious food.
“Hunger simply breaks my heart. When I saw a child come to school hungry, or looked in the eyes of a homeless person at a soup kitchen, or heard from seniors having to choose between food and medication, I felt so sad. And then I felt angry. Because I know there is enough food for all.
This cycle of sadness and anger was leading nowhere for me. And so, I realized it was time to figure out what to do — how to move from a feeling of powerlessness to a feeling of engaged, connected action. I started reading about hunger and food waste, talking with experts, watching TV programs and documentaries, and brainstorming about what I could do to help end hunger in Marin.
I identified several organizations I could join or create. And then I met with Paul Ash, Executive Director of the SF-Marin Food Bank. I was aware of the Food Bank’s huge impact on the hungry in our community, and of Paul’s deep knowledge of the issues, challenges, and opportunities. I talked with him about all the ideas I’d had for ways that I could help end hunger in Marin. He focused on one of them, and said, ’You should do in Marin what Food Runners has done in San Francisco.’ Well, I thought, if the head of the Food Bank is telling me I ought to create a food recovery program, I ought to listen. And if Paul is recommending this, I thought, he’s doing so for a reason: our program would be complementary to the work of the Food Bank.
So, I took Paul’s advice and introduced myself to Mary Risley, Founder of Food Runners, a 35-year-old organization now recovering 15 tons of food per week in San Francisco. She said, ’Yes, you should do this in Marin, and we’d be happy to tell you everything you need to know to make it happen.’ Well, then I knew I had to do it. My first step was asking our Founding Board Members if they’d join me, and so the team was born. Our vision: food recovery becomes a way of life in Marin, and all in our community have the food they need.”