Founded in 1985, Project Open Hand is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to nourish and engage the community by providing meals with love to the critically ill and elderly. Every day, Project Open Hand prepares 2,500 nutritious meals and provides 200 bags of healthy groceries to help sustain its clients as they battle serious illnesses, isolation, or the health challenges of aging. Its service area includes San Francisco and Alameda Counties, and more than 125 volunteers are relied upon every day to nourish the community. In 2015 alone, Project Open Hand provided nearly 906,000 meals to seniors and neighbors battling critical illnesses throughout the Bay Area.
Project Open Hand has pioneered a number of groundbreaking initiatives to better serve its meal recipients:
Room to Grow Greenhouse – Project Open Hand has been utilizing an indoor greenhouse named “Room to Grow” in its San Francisco building since October 2013. Inside Room to Grow, Project Open Hand grows herbs and greens most used by its chefs in client meals, advancing its efforts to provide clients with the freshest, healthiest food possible while also sourcing as many ingredients locally as possible. Since planting in October 2013, Room to Grow has produced four harvests of basil and lettuce.
Food=Medicine Pilot Program – In 2014, Project Open Hand began a nutrition study program named “Food=Medicine” in partnership with the UCSF School of Medicine, with the goal of demonstrating that providing medically-tailored nutrition to people living with critical illnesses has a positive impact on their health and well-being, which in turn, can reduce medical costs.
Food is Medicine Coalition (FIMC) – The FIMC is a volunteer association of nonprofit, medically-tailored and nutrition services providers from across the country that seeks to advance public policy that supports access to food and nutrition services for people with severe and/or chronic illnesses. The FIMC promotes research on the efficacy of food and nutrition services on health outcomes and cost of care while also sharing best practices in the provision of medically-tailored meals of nutrition education and counseling.
Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital – Project Open Hand Partnership – Launched in January 2016, the Project Open Hand and Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital (SFGH) partnership creates a fully integrated program of primary care, medically tailored and 100% nutritious meals, and related services among the medically underserved adults of the Bay Area. The partnership involves select SFGH patients experiencing a high volume of hospitalization and readmission rates due to chronic congestive heart failure, who are then referred to Project Open Hand. Discharged patients receive a bag of healthy groceries from Project Open Hand and are offered opportunities to participate in the study conducted by Project Open Hand nutritionists.
The JLSF will participate in Project Open Hand’s Senior Meal Program, where JLSF volunteers will prepare food, pack groceries, and deliver food to senior centers and to home-bound individuals across the City, with the goal of serving 4,000 senior citizens annually.
For more information about the Project Open Hand, please click here.