Helping feed the terminally ill

Tom Nolan, the executive director of Project Open Hand, is celebrating the nonprofit organization’s 25th anniversary Thursday with founder Ruth Brinker at a gala hosted in their Polk Street headquarters. Project Open Hand delivers groceries and meals to the terminally ill.

How did you get involved in Project Open Hand? It’s been 16 years now. I was a San Mateo County supervisor from 1984 to 1992, and then I went over to SPUR for a little while. As a gay man in the ’80s when AIDS was making its first appearance, it was frightening and I wanted to do something about it. That’s what originally attracted me to this work.

How has the organization changed in 25 years? When they first discovered medications that enhance the quality of life for AIDS patients, things began to really change. We just couldn’t help people with cancer and other serious diseases before because the demand for HIV patients was just too high. Now we have a very large program here for women with breast cancer and their families.

Any advice for someone looking to start a successful nonprofit? All you really need is a big heart and a kitchen to do this, but there are ups and downs. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told people that at the end of the day, no matter the struggles, I can say I helped get 2,600 people healthy meals.

bbegin@sfexaminer.com

Bay Area NewsLocalNEPTom Nolan

Just Posted

San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler, pictured in July at Oracle Park, says team members simultaneously can be “measured and calm” and “looking to push the accelerator.” (Chris Victorio/Special to The Examiner)
How Gabe Kapler sets the tone for Giants’ success with strategy, mindset

‘There’s no doubt in my mind that he’s the hands-down manager of the year’

Artist Agnieszka Pilat, pictured with Spot the Robot Dog from Boston Robotics, has a gallery show opening at Modernism. (Courtesy Agnieszka Pilat)
Screenshots of VCs, Kanye and tech parties by the Bay

In this week’s roundup, Ben Horowitz’s surprising hip-hop knowledge and the chic tech crowd at Shack15

If he secured a full term in the Senate, Newsom would become the most powerful Californian Democrat since Phil Burton at the height of his career, or maybe ever. <ins>(Kevin Hume/The Examiner)</ins>
Firefighters extinguish burning material near Lake Tahoe on Sept. 3 in the wake of the Caldor Fire; environmental scientists say the huge fire is bringing to light deficiencies in forest management. <ins>(Max Whittaker/New York Times)</ins>
Cal Fire, timber industry must face an inconvenient truth

We are logging further into the wildfire and climate crisis

Speaker of the Parliament of Mongolia Gombojav Zandanshatar said his country and San Francisco face similar challenges on issues including COVID recovery and climate change.<ins> (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)</ins>
Mongolian leaders meet with tech, film leaders on city tour

‘I really want San Franciscans to meet the new Mongolian generation’

Most Read