Project Open Hand

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Project Open Hand is a nonprofit organization that provides nutritious meals to seniors and the critically ill.

Every day, the organization prepares 2,500 meals and provides 200 bags of groceries to help sustain clients as they battle serious illnesses, isolation, or the health challenges of old age. Project Open Hand serves San Francisco and Alameda Counties, engaging more than 125 volunteers every day to nourish the community.


Project Open Hand was created in 1985 by Ruth Brinker,[1] a woman who recognized the relatively small number of social services for those infected with HIV/AIDS.[2] She noticed the effects of malnutrition on the terminally ill from watching a number of her friends struggle to get proper nourishment during their illness. After noticing a growing problem, the idea for delivering hot meals to them was born, and a positive impact was soon to follow. Ruth began by delivering meals to 7 people living with AIDS, and from there, the word quickly spread.

In 1990, the Food Bank Program at the San Francisco AIDS Foundation (which, at that time, was distributing bags of staple groceries to 600 low-income people with AIDS per week) was merged into Project Open Hand. The merger created a single organization that was more efficient than having two separate programs, and which delivered hot meals as well as groceries.

Project Open Hand receives two thirds of its funding through private donations, with one third coming from governmental agencies. Food service operations, such as the preparation of hot meals, bagging of groceries, and delivery of food to those in need are all conducted by more than 125 daily volunteers in combination with the full and part-time staff of 110 people.


  1. ^ Slotnik, Daniel S. (2011-08-18). "Ruth Brinker, Who Gave AIDS Patients Meals, Is Dead at 89". New York Times. Retrieved 2011-09-01. 
  2. ^ Kane, Will (2011-08-14). "Ruth Brinker, Project Open Hand founder, dies". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2011-09-01. 

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