Posts Tagged ‘lissette alvarez’

Hunger in the City: Food Runners Helps Feed the Poor in San Francisco

By xpressmagazine

Food Runners’ volunteers, Keith Goldstein, left, and Seth Acharya, right, collect bags of bread from Acme while at the Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market in San Francisco, March 31, 2012.

Written by Lissette Alvarez
Photos by Godofredo Vasquez

The smell of bagels and coffee float in the air, as R&B and laughter emanate through the sitting area in the Sala Burton Residence. 72-year-old Beverly Saba, the president of the Sala Burton Tenant Association, wears her hair in a loose, white bun which reflects her soft yet authoritative demeanor.

The table is a schmorgesborge of salad, yogurt, pasta, and fruit, while the couch next to the table overflows with bagels and other pastries. San Francisco’s senior citizens line up by the table, eating utensils in hand, ready to bask in the buffet in front of them. Saba observes her tenants as they prepare dinner, and makes sure everyone gets their fair share.

Carrillo Marco, 61, walks with his long wooden cane. Marco’s long hair, tied back in a ponytail, is white enough to rival Saba’s and makes his leathery skin appear darker in contrast. Saba frowns as they begin to discuss the quality of the food. She chides him for not having anything positive to say. He rolls his eyes and ignores the elderly woman’s comments. As Saba continues to push Marco’s buttons, he eventually caves in.

“Sometimes I would go through PDF files on my iPhone in the middle of class or do quick Internet searches—I learn better that way, but other than that I’m old school. I still write notes.”  Alejandro Rios, 28, Anthropology/Latino Studies

Network Interruption

By xpressmagazine

Written by Lissette Alvarez
Illustrations by Sara Donchey

The soft clicking of Kristen Gardner’s typing is the only sound heard in her Daly City apartment. Gardner, who works part time as a receptionist at USA Hostel while going to school full time, is so focused on getting her research done that the heat of the room doesn’t faze her. Undeterred by the temptation of Facebook and her iPhone, she continues surfing the web for more information on Nigeria. Researching deforestation in Nigeria for her Social Science class, she switches from her word document and opens a new tab, clicking on a link titled “Nigeria has the worst deforestation rate.”

People often think that the ability to multitask is a positive attribute – those who think they can proudly tout their skills. Likewise, it’s not uncommon to see job listings that place multitasking as a required ability. Technologies such as smartphones and iPads cater to this idea, that we can maximize our efficiency by getting things multiple done.

Follow the Food Runners

By xpressmagazine

Written by Lissette Alvarez

This map chronicles some of Food Runners’ primary locations they would pick up and drop off their food items. The map also pinpoints the agencies receiving the food from SoMa to the Embarcadero area.

According to the Food Runners’ site, their organization is a focal point where food donors, volunteers and recipients connect with their community.  Mary Risley, who founded the organization believes that people who like to cook are generous, and they like to see others being fed.

She also said the volunteers who pick up and deliver the food have an immediate sense of helping others at the most fundamental level–the recipients have tangible proof that their fellow San Franciscans really care.

1. Food runners
2579 Washington St.
Food Runners has over 200 volunteers, and more than 250 restaurants and other businesses regularly donate perishable food.

2. Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market 1 Ferry Bldg. Set 260
Some of the booths from farmer’s market have donated their products to Food Runners in the last 10 to 15 years. The organization receives most of their organic products, including breads, produce, and pastas, from them.

3. Trader Joe’s 555 9th ST. S.
This Trader Joe’s has collaborated with Food Runners for about five years now. The organization would receive food from all departments.

4. Twitter: 795 Folsom St.

This company is one of the few corporate cafeterias that donate to Food Runners. For eight months, they had given them prepared items such as spaghetti and salads.

5. Kara’s Cupcakes 3249 Scott St.
Kara’s Cupcakes, which had been one of Food Runners’s donors for over two years, sources local organic ingredients.

6. St. Martin de Porres 225 Potrero Ave.
St. Martin, a Catholic soup kitchen, has been Food Runners’ recipient since 1994. Their mission is to serve in the spirit of compassion — feeding and housing those in need.

7. Woh Hei Yuen 922 Jackson St.
Food Runners had recently began serving Woh Hei Yuen in February. Established in 1993, the recreation center serves both adults and children offering activities such as cooking and homework assistance.

8. Lutheran Social Services, 290 8th St.
LSS, which had been active since 1967, helps thousands of individuals with acute needs, including the young families and the elderly They had been the food program’s recipient since 1988.

9. St. Gregory 500 De Haro St.
Every Friday, this organization gives away free groceries to hundreds hungry people. The Food Pantry, one of Food Runners’ recipients for eight years, is currently serving over 1,000 families.

Legal Street Dogs

By xpressmagazine


The infamous bacon wrapped hot dog from Leo's Hot Dogs. Photo by Godofredo Vasquez.


Written by Lissette Alvarez
It is a cold Saturday night in the Mission district and the streets are quiet except the faint notes of Cumbia music that radiates from a small hot dog trailer parked in front of El Mercantile on 19th Street. The tantalizing smell of hot dogs, bacon, and onions waft through the air.
Adan Gonzalez, the vendor owner, works the stand most nights along with his wife, Lucero Muñoz Arrellano, and employee Maria Reyes. Their white aprons and light-blue gloves almost blend in with the white background of the truck.
Their bacon-wrapped hot dogs and long strands of onions cook on a gas grill and glisten under the trailer’s bright lights. The tables that flank the grill are adorned with the feminine touch of bouquets of red roses and pink lilies. On top of the tables are several bottles of condiments and toppings, including a large jar of jalapeño slices. The women grin at each other as they move the hot dogs and onions with their tongs.
“Hot dogs,” Arrellano calls out as she snaps her silver tongs in the air. “Get your hot dogs here!”
Ricardo Pernia, clad in thick, black glasses walks up to the trailer and eyes the food on the grill.
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