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"Project Open Hand's Food is the best medicine for my diabetes," says Bayview resident Rossie.

Food is Love. Food Is Medicine.

At Project Open Hand,  our medically-tailored food helps clients recover from illness, get stronger and lead healthier lives. Project Open Hand services assist those with AIDS/HIV as well as critical illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes. We also provide daily warm, nutritious meals for seniors and adults with disabilities fighting hunger. Project Open Hand's vision is that no one who is sick or elderly in our community will go without nutritious meals with love.

Food Is Medicine Coalition 

Project Open Hand is a proud founding partner of the Food Is Medicine Coalition (FIMC). The FIMC is a volunteer association of nonprofit, medically-tailored and nutrition services (FNS) providers from across the country, which includes our sister organizations God's Love We Deliver in New York City, Community Servings in Boston and Project Angel Heart in Denver, among others. The FIMC's purpose is 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 and sharing best practices in the provision of medically-tailored meals of nutrition education and counseling.

Food = Medicine Pilot Study

Seeking a greater voice in the public health conversation, Project Open Hand partnered with UCSF on scientific studies tracking data of health benefits associated with Food as Medicine. Our scientific collaboration with physicians and researchers from UC San Francisco demonstrates with data how the healing power of nutritious food is crucial for serving the critically ill.

The study, published in January of 2017 in the peer-reviewed Journal of Urban Health, involved more than 50 San Francisco and Alameda County residents living with Diabetes, HIV/AIDS or dual diagnosis. The study showed increases in the number of people with diabetes who achieved optimal blood sugar control and decreases in hospitalizations or emergency department visits. Participants with diabetes also consumed less sugar and lost weight through Project Open Hand’s nutritious and medically tailored meals. HIV-positive clients who received healthy food and snacks for six months from Project Open Hand were more likely to adhere to their medication regiments, and they, along with clients with Type 2 Diabetes, were less depressed and less likely to make trade-offs between food and healthcare, according to researchers at UCSF.

Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital - Project Open Hand Partnership

Confronting the growing problem of food insecurity and its relation to chronic disease, Project Open Hand and Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital have

partnered to create a fully integrated program of primary care, medically tailored and 100% nutritious meals as well as related services among the medically underserved adults of the Bay Area. The partnership, which launched in January of 2016, involves select SFGH patients experiencing a high volume of hospitalization and readmission rates due to chronic congestive heart failure, will be 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.  Project Open Hand and ZSGH have partnered to implement this pioneering program within the public healthcare system in recognition of the impact and value of Food as Medicine as well as the nation’s alarming trend of congestive heart failure. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, upwards of 5 million Americans suffer from congestive heart failure, leading to an estimated $35 billion in U.S. healthcare costs each year.

Adults With Disabilities Meal Program at 730 Polk Street

In December of 2016, Project Open Hand opened a unique dining site at 730 Polk Street for our Adults with Disabilities population.  In that beautiful corner space on Willow and Polk, we began serving a hot lunch for upwards of 50 clients/day. This is the first Adults with Disabilities site in the San Francisco to exclusively serve this population.  It addresses a significant challenge of food insecurity among adults with disabilities. The SF Department of Aging and Adult Services (“DAAS”) requested that Project Open Hand launch this unique service, hoping to close a gap in services and create a model for other agencies and community centers throughout San Francisco. The program is completely funded by DAAS.

Getting To Zero Initiative

Launching in 2017, Project Open Hand will be offering a new form of delivery service. We're taking our services to our clients' neighborhoods. With funding support from the City of San Francisco and the Getting To Zero Coalition, Project Open Hand is set to embark on a new mobile service delivery. We've added to our delivery fleet and we'll be outfitting two vehicles to provide all of the services we provide at 730 Polk Street (groceries, hot and frozen meals, nutrition and client services). Our first two colocation sites will be in the most vulnerable and underserved areas of the city: the Mission and Bayview neighborhoods. We'll co-locate at Mission Neighborhood Health Center and Southeast Health Center during peak client times and bring our services directly to the neighborhood.

CalFIMC Medical Advisory Council (MAC) Members



Paul Hepfer, Chief Executive Officer, Project Open Hand

Ana Ayala, VP of Programs, Project Open Hand


Michelle Kupich, RDN - Executive Director, California Food is Medicine Coalition, Project Open Hand

Cathryn Couch, Chief Executive Officer, Ceres Community Project

Alberto Cortes, Chief Executive Officer, Mama's Kitchen

Richard Ayoub, Chief Executive Officer, Project Angel Food

Ron Karp, Executive Director, Food for Thought


Council Members


Jim Glauber, Chief Medical Officer, San Francisco Health Plan

Sheri Weiser, MD, MPH, MA, Associate Professor, Medicine Division of HIV, ID and Global Medicine, UCSF

Rita Nguyen, MD, Assistant Health Officer, Chronic Disease, Physician Specialist, Population Health Division, San Francisco Department of Public Health 

Preston Maring, MD, retired, Kaiser Permanente

Ronit Ridberg, PhD MS Postdoctoral Scholar, Center for Healthcare Policy and Research, The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing University of California, Davis 

Chris Esguerra, MD

Rishi Manchanda, President, HealthBegins

We-An Lee (Andy Lee), MD, Department of Health Services, Los Angeles County

Tanvir Hussain, MD Cardiologist, Los Angeles

James Schieberl, MD Kaiser Permanente


1921 San Pablo Avenue
Oakland, CA 94612
(510) 622-0221
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San Francisco

730 Polk Street
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 447-2300
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