Volunteer FAQ

Welcome Food Runners Warriors:

Thank you so much for joining us in our mission to reduce food insecurities and food waste in our communities!

As Molly, our South Bay Marketing person would say “What kind of volunteer work allows you to literally feed large numbers of people in a short amount of time?” “And fast food doesn’t count”, she say, cheekily!

Food Safety Guidelines

Food Safety Guidelines

Best Practices

So here are some helpful tips as a food runner.

What are some of the best practices for a wonderful and successful food run experience?

These tips are offered by experienced volunteers who have worn black bean as accessories on their clothes or have had interesting conversations about aroma in their cars. The Indian air freshener by far was the most popular scent!

1. Read the confirmation email to gather details about the donor, recipient and the back up recipient.

2. Consider the use of GPS, google maps or check your route before you begin the new run.
To save time and gas, are there any errands you can do before and after the food runs?

3. Call the donors in advance (15-30 minutes) to confirm food availability. This will prevent unnecessary trips. Inform the donor of your expected arrival time and encourage them to have the food packed up. If the destination is on 2nd or 3rd floor, ask if there is a cart available or let them know that you may need help in transporting the food your car.

4. Consider a plastic shower liner or tarp to protect your car interior in case liquid leaks during the delivery. If you choose to invest in a plastic rectangular container, please consider a container that can fit the standard 12.5 X 20 inches food aluminum trays.

5. Ask what kind of food is being donated as recipients might ask you this question.
Remind the donor that in accordance to food safety recommendations – the type of food and date of donation should be stated on food packaging.

6. Please do ask the donor to drain out any foods with too much liquid. i.e black beans, indian food, etc.


Here are other questions you may have:

What other tools would I need to consider having on the food runs?

Keeping a box of hand wipes, disposable gloves, and paper towel in the car is highly recommended to transport food. A foldable cart is an option in case one is not available at the donor site

What is the best strategy to transport multiple trays of food i.e. 15-20 trays of food?
Here is one strategy I have used when dealing with many trays of food.

If you have a trunk that is lined and ready to be loaded. Start the first layer of the heaviest trays (mostly rice, pasta, potatoes, meats…) and have all trays positioned going in the same direction.
The 2nd layer of lighter trays (breads, vegetables, salads etc..)are then stacked perpendicular on the top of the first layer of trays. This crisscross stacking distributes the weight of the trays and will hopefully limit the leakage.

What should I do if I cannot get in touch with the contact person at the recipient location?

Sometimes, just hanging out, I might be able to get another staff or client to help me.
The second option is to take the food to the recommended back up recipient that was provided in your confirmation email

I called the donor and the donor confirmed that there was no food. Do I need to contact the recipient?
Yes, please do contact the recipient to let them know that there will be no donations.

The donor or recipient has requested a change in schedule. What should I do?

Please convey the message immediately to info@peninsulafoodrunner.org or call 415-826-6903. This is especially helpful during any holidays and seasonal celebration. Also, please encourage the donor and the recipient to notify peninsula food runners.

Can a volunteer get taxed write off for volunteering?
I believe so..you can go to your own personal account to see all the food runs that you have done for the year, get your print out, google your miles and consult with your accountant.

Can I apply my volunteer time with Peninsula Food Runners to my employee volunteer program?

Certainly! You can retrieve all your time from your Peninsula food runner account and supply it to your company’s Human Resource group.

I am a mother of two and my time is split between sport practices, errants etc.. Are there food runs that is best for me?

Best to try each food runs to determine if there are food runs that you would enjoy supporting on a consistent basis. If there are let us know. The system is set up to be flexible. Many on-call runs are posted between 1-5pm and are available for anyone to volunteer on the spur of the moment.

What are regular food runs versus on-call food runs?

Regular food runs is when a volunteer decides to support a donor or recipients on regular basis.
Presently we have regular runners who support single or multiple food runs that are either weekly, once or twice a month. These runs can be shared among other volunteers or friends.

When a regular volunteer is unable to fulfill the food run, they can notify the admin via email 2 days prior or ASAP in order to release the food run back into the system. This allows the community of Peninsula Food Runners volunteers an opportunity to help out. This is a temporary release and the regular food runner can resume their food runs when they are able to.

An “On Call Food Run” on the other hand, is a food run that is release the same day after a meal occurs. This allow the donors to assess the quantity of food in order to determine if it is sufficient donate. We ask donations to be able to feed 10 or more people.
Best time to check for On Call Runs is between 1 -5 pm daily

I am thrilled about your mission to reduce food insecurities and food waste! How can I help in addition to being a food runner?

Let your friends and families know about our mission and what we stand for.
-Against Hunger and Food Waste in our communities!

Help us recruit volunteers to become Food Warriors (Highest needs are in Northern San Mateo and Santa Clara County)

Let your favorite food businesses/companies know about our services.
-Mentioned PFR Peninsula Food Runners for the San Mateo or Santa Clara.
-Give them our website www.peninsulafoodrunner.org and our number (415)826-6903!

Who should I call in case I am in the field and cannot get hold of anyone?
Please call Maria at the office (415)826-6903 or on the cell (415)203-8389.

There is lot of left over at a party I just attended and I would like to take it some where that the food could be enjoyed. Where can I go?

Here are the Back Up that are 24/7 and for after 5pm in the following areas:

San Mateo County – North (SSF, Daly City, San Bruno, Millbrae, Brisbane etc)
Safe Harbor -295 N. Access Rd.South San Francisco
Catholic West San Bruno -555 W. San Bruno Avenue, San Bruno (4pm-11am) and the house at 672@ 2nd street, San Bruno (11am -4pm).

San Mateo County -South (Belmont, San Carlos, Redwood City etc)
Maple Street Shelter -1580A Maple Street, Redwood City
Spring Street Shelter -2686 Spring Street, Redwood City

San Clara County -North (Palo Alto, Menlo Park etc)
Project We Hope -1858 Bay Road, East Palo Alto
East Palo Alto Senior Center -560 Bell Street..please call 650-329-5900 for Ms. Grant to determine after 5pm deliveries.

Santa Clara County -Mid
Julian Street Shelter -546 W Julian Street, San Jose
HomeFirst -2011 Little Orchard, San Jose