Jefferson Award Winner Donates Food To CommunityBy Allen Martin

SAN ANSELMO (KPIX 5) A lot of college grads know what they want to do. Heidi Krahling didn’t.

“I knew what I didn’t want to do,” she remembered. “I didn’t want to work for a big corporation.”

But she loved to cook and feed people. So she bought her first restaurant.

For the last two decades, she’s owned Insalata’s in San Anselmo. Seven years ago, she added Marinitas down the street.

“I love it to pieces.. to pieces!” she exclaimed.

Ever since her first restaurant, Krahling’s not only been feeding her paying customers, she also feeds those who can’t afford it. “Feed the community” she says, because “the community feeds us.”

“One puts the roof over my head, and hopefully one keeps the roof over others,” she explained.

One of the dozens of groups Krahling helps is ExtraFood. She’s on the board of the non-profit, which collects fresh food donated from restaurants, grocery stores, and farmer’s markets. One of the programs she started specifically for ExtraFood is called Planned Giving. Restaurants prepare food that’s above and beyond what’s on the menu that can then be donated.

“Every single week, both of her restaurants make a wonderful dish for 20 people that we pick up and get to those in need,” said ExtraFood founder Marv Zauderer.

The food goes to places like Warner Creek Senior Housing in Novato.

“So it’s two meals a week, which is great for our residents to know that food is coming,” said Eden Housing‘s Nathan Ho.

For years, Krahling and her husband Mark have donated the food and chefs for the annual fundraising bar-b-q for San Anselmo’s recreation department.

“A lot of people they feel it’s their favorite event, and Heidi Krahling and Mark Krahling are really the backbone of the event,” said Assistant Town Manager David Donery. “They make it happen.”

We asked Krahling if food is in her DNA. It may be that giving is in her genetics.

“It has to be a part of it. It HAS to be a part of it,” was the answer. “Yes. You said is it in my DNA? How I was raised and how I will continue to thrive.”

So for years of donating her time, food, and culinary skills, this week’s Jefferson Award in the Bay Area goes to Heidi Krahling.