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

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Riders should expect big changes when Muni rail returns in August

Reconfigured routes will mean fewer, longer trains through tunnel

Californians to vote on restoring voting rights of parolees

If passed, Proposition 17 would amend the California Constitution and allow parolees to vote

New audio of couple calling police on SF man bolsters racial bias claims, supe says

Pacific Heights incident spurred CAREN Act to outlaw discriminatory reports to police

SFUSD students may start the school year at home

Staff report recommends starting with distance learning in the fall, transitioning to hybrid model

Universities fight new immigration restrictions on international students in court

Local colleges are scrambling to keep international students in the country as… Continue reading

Most Read