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    Project Open Hand’s Taste of the City

    Project Open Hand Nourishes Both Body and Soulfront

    In 1985, a San Francisco grandmother and retired food-service worker named Ruth Brinker began to prepare meals for seven of her neighbors with AIDS. She had witnessed so much suffering, isolation and malnutrition. To combat all three, she regularly brought meals to her neighbors’ homes, along with a friendly smile, an encouraging word, and a healthy dose of love. Others heard about what she was doing, and requests began pouring in. Brinker put out a call for volunteers and, with this, founded Project Open Hand, one of our community’s most needed and important non-profits.

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    Project Open Hand’s provided services later expanded, such that the organization now helps to feed seniors and people fighting cancer, heart disease, diabetes and many other serious illnesses. At present, new applications are accepted from those suffering from HIV or breast cancer. Even with that limitation, the level of outreach is extraordinary and extends into the East Bay, where the organization has a Grocery Center. Project Open Hand’s volunteers and workers prepare 2,500 nutritious meals daily and provide 200 bags of healthy groceries every day to help sustain clients. More than 125 volunteers work to make all of that effort possible.

    We at the San Francisco Bay Times therefore jumped at the chance to help with outreach for Project Open Hand’s signature benefit, “Taste of the City,” which will be held on May 5 starting at 5:30 pm. This event is a fun and exciting culinary experience that brings those with an appetite for philanthropy to some of San Francisco’s finest chefs’ tables. Taste of the City begins at San Francisco City Hall with an inspirational program and live auction, followed by complimentary transportation and an exclusive dinner at a top San Francisco restaurant. After dinner, guests are then chauffeured back to City Hall for yummy desserts, cocktails and an after party.

    Longtime San Francisco Bay Times contributor and drag performer Pollo Del Mar will be one of the event’s auctioneers.

    “Project Open Hand’s long history of work with San Francisco’s most vulnerable is so necessary—and incredibly inspiring,” Del Mar said. “It’s an honor to help increase awareness of the organization’s incredible contributions and raise the much-needed funds to allow its staff to continue providing delicious, healthy, balanced meals to our city’s low-income, disabled, at-risk and in need.”

    Drag performer MGM Grande will also be one of the auctioneers.

    “Project Open Hand has been feeding people in need for 30 years,” MGM Grande said. “I’m proud to say that I used to be a client and received their services. I’m excited to be a part of Taste of the City this year to draw much needed funds as well as awareness to this cause.”

    All funds raised by this event will help Project Open Hand to continue to provide nutritious meals with love to those who need them the most. The generous and caring vision of Brinker, who passed away in 2011 at age 89, can therefore carry on if we help to keep this wonderful organization going now, and well into the future.

    For more information about Taste of the City and to purchase tickets, please visit