Best Volunteer Organization 

Project Open Hand

Let's face it: How can we possibly choose which of the many, many excellent local volunteer organizations is the "best"? This year seems like a good time to recognize an old favorite that recently moved into a new home on this side of the bay. Founded in 1985 by Ruth Brinker, Project Open Hand provides cooked meals, groceries, and nutrition information to seniors and people living with HIV/AIDS or other critical illnesses that keep them homebound. Originally started in a San Francisco church basement, the nonprofit now estimates that it served about 5,000 people with HIV/AIDS last year, as well as 3,500 seniors. In 1989 Project Open Hand volunteers started driving meals over the bridge to serve clients in the East Bay, and this May, the group opened a new kitchen at Oakland's California Hotel and plans to open an East Bay Grocery Center in 2002, both of which will ensure that clients on this side of the bay will get their meals hot and on time. Project Open Hand estimates that they need about 160 volunteers every day to help prepare, package, and deliver meals. Volunteers can deliver meals on foot or by car, work as prep cooks, help fill orders, or serve meals to seniors. Orientations for new East Bay volunteers are held twice a month at the office. Wanna lend a hand? Check out http://www.openhand.org.

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