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#DFGives: Volunteer with Project Open Hand

By October 5, 2016

By: Sean Rosas, Director of Volunteer Services at Project Open Hand

Volunteerism is part of the very DNA of being human. It is who we are in service to others that best demonstrates our character.

Volunteerism was also part of the very first heartbeat of intention that accompanied the very first “meal with love” served in 1985 by Project Open Hand’s founder, Ruth Brinker, a retired San Francisco food-service worker and grandmother witnessing the early days of the AIDS epidemic. Heartbroken at watching friends and neighbors struggle with malnutrition through complications with AIDS, Ruth volunteered her time and energy to prepare meals in her kitchen and delivered them to their homes.

Project Open HandRuth’s vision is still alive and remains a motivating force behind our mission: Nourish and engage our community by providing meals with love to the critically ill and elderly.

We’ve expanded beyond HIV/AIDS to serve those battling critical illnesses such as breast cancer and diabetes as well as a robust senior lunch program at more than 20 sites throughout San Francisco. Project Open Hand prepares 2,500 nutritious meals daily and provides 200 bags of healthy groceries every day to help sustain clients battling serious illness, isolation and health challenges of aging.

Every single day of the year, more than 125 Project Open Hand volunteers visit our Tenderloin headquarters to help us achieve our mission. Our spectrum of volunteers ranges from Nita, a 90-year-old grandmother who has been helping out in the kitchen every Monday morning since the 1980s – to Chuck, who has assisted with data entry in our offices for the past 25 years – to Wilshia, who began offering a helping hand in our grocery center and kitchen earlier this year.

“My favorite part about volunteering in the kitchen is the people of course,” says Wilshia. “Everyone here is wonderful and I feel loved when I’m here.”

Volunteering at Project Open HandOn Wednesday, October 5 at Dreamforce, visit the Dreampark from 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. to help pack 2,000 “Food = Medicine” canvas bags with cookbooks, measuring cups, and measured food storage containers to be given to critically ill and elderly neighbors in San Francisco and Alameda Counties.

For individuals, corporations or youth programs interested in additional volunteer opportunities with Project Open Hand, email [email protected].

Sean Rosas is Director of Volunteer Services at Project Open Hand. He will be a Dreamforce 2016 panelist on the Innovative Technology and the Fight Against AIDS and HIV discussion on Thursday, October 6 at 4:00 p.m. in The Westin St. Francis San Francisco, Tower Salon A.