Today’s episode of On the Fly is with chef and restaurateur Joanna Karlinsky. Anyone who has lived in SF for more than 20 years remembers her famous Meetinghouse biscuits. Joanna is also known for her big heart—she is a steadfast volunteer and advocate for Food Runners, a longtime SF organization working to recover and redistribute discarded food to community programs. And at the moment, Joanna has taken to running her own one-woman-army effort to bring food directly to unhoused people who are on the streets and in encampments.
It is a desperate and heart-breaking scene on the streets of SF right now. Anyone who has driven or walked through the Tenderloin recently or looked down an alley in SOMA should be shocked by what they are seeing. I know I am. It’s the worst I have ever seen it. People desperately need help, and masks, and more hand-washing stations, and sanitizer, and space, and food, and when you listen to this episode, you will also learn that what they really need right now is water. Which is terrible.
In an attempt to help in any way she can, Joanna has been filling containers and bringing water as well as food on her weekly drops. She has been cooking out of her own kitchen and was self-funding this incredible effort until recently when some friends decided to launch a Facebook fundraiser for her (which you will want to contribute to after you hear this interview).
Like many chefs, Joanna lives and loves to feed people. But the herculean effort she is making to take care of people during this pandemic is beyond heroic, even though she will cringe hearing me say this. As a cancer survivor, she deeply knows the importance of health and the value of our precious lives. She’s working so hard and bravely to protect and preserve the lives of people who have been mostly neglected by our city. I hope this episode will help illuminate the dire situation that is happening on our streets, and is only escalating. We need to demand more services, and help, and hotel rooms, because we can’t allow this to get any worse. Look below for ways to help—we can make a difference, each and every one of us. Joanna is shining proof of that.
Fundraiser to help Joanna feed and bring water to the unhoused: https://tinyurl.com/ycr5p7po
District 6 Supervisor Matt Haney’s fundraiser for masks and sanitizer: https://tinyurl.com/yc92uvw9
Lava Mae fundraiser for hand-washing stations:
Learn more in this Facebook town hall video from 4/27/20 with Senator Scott Wiener and community service/food bank leaders who discuss the current state of food insecurity: https://bit.ly/wienertownhall
1. SF New Deal: https://sfnewdeal.org
2. St. Anthony Foundation: https://www.stanthonysf.org/
Donate money: https://www.stanthonysf.org/donate/
Clothing donations (and more): https://www.stanthonysf.org/essential-donations/
If you’re a Bay Area business or individual and want to be featured in On the Fly, please fill out the form at bit.ly/ontheflyguest.
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