Running to Those in Need

Running to those in need

by Gerardo Marenco

A garden vegetable pizza billows freshly on its serving dish moments prior to being tossed straight into the trash bin, untouched after a long night at the dining hall. Across town, a shelter grapples with the issue of not having enough food to serve.

Enter Conner Todd, a senior at Menlo College.

In just a few hours, Conner and his team collect enough surplus food from Menlo’s Dining Hall to deliver to one of four local food banks. Arriving after every meal period, they coordinate with the dining staff to pack and store leftovers for those in need.

This exchange is the culmination of over a year of dedication Conner has shown in connecting our dining hall to those in our greater community.

For Connor, a simple Google search led him to the organization he was looking for — Food Runners. “I was just trying to find someone who was doing something about the food waste in our area.” Food Runners is a 27-year-old organization started by Mary Risley. Risley’s charity connects local business with shelters and churches. Working off of a grassroots model, they deliver food to over 450 Bay Area organizations. Now, thanks to Connor, Menlo College can be counted on as a donor.

So far the recipients of uneaten lunch meals have been United Methodist, Grace Lutheran Church, First Presbyterian Church, and All Saints Episcopal Church. As a result of donations from Menlo College, 20-70 more people are getting fed per day. “It’s great to finally see it happening. People say it’s so easy, but no one does anything about it,” Connor exclaims.

Conner points out. “If you see the need to change something, take the steps to do it yourself.” In his quest to direct our leftovers to local shelters, three others have joined his cause: Timothy Burke, Chelsea Salinas, and Ashley Schumann. Together they increased food donations to over 30 pounds every week.

Their hope is to spread awareness of Food Runners and increase the number of students in the program.

For more information contact conner.todd@menlo.edu or gerardo.marenco@sodexo.com.