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The Community Nutrition Program has implemented changes to service starting Monday, March 23, 2020 to help reduce contact at Community Nutrition Sites during this COVID-19 health crisis. 

Project Open Hand will begin providing frozen 7-meal packs to CNP clients at 730 Polk Street for those CNP clients who wish to pick up a week's worth of frozen food. Daily To-go meals will still be served at the open CNP sites. The frozen 7-meal pack will match our current menu cycle including dairy and fruit. Clients can walk in or have the option for services to be delivered directly to their car. 

Where: 730 Polk Street, San Francisco
When: Beginning March 23, 2020 Mon-Fri (weekdays) until further notice
Time: 1-4pm
Service: Frozen 7-meal pack (one week of lunches)
Contact: 415-447-2310 for more information on frozen 7-meal pack pickup service  
Requirements: must be a CNP client and have the proper appliances to reheat the meal safely at home. Safe hearing instructions are marked on all meals.


March 18, 2020

(Press Release) Project Open Hand Commits to Continue Serving Medically Tailored Meals to Economically Disadvantaged Patients in San Francisco
POH continues vital services and prepares for increased demand in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.

Project Open Hand, under the Order issued by the Health Officer of the City and County of San Francisco, is considered an “Essential Business.”

Following the Stay at Home (shelter in place) Order effective on March 17, 2020, and in conversations with community health providers, POH, with additional funding and support, will consider extending its services to provide medically tailored meals to economically-disadvantaged patients diagnosed with COVID-19.

“There is no question that nutritious food, tailored to the medical needs of an individual, is vitally important. This was clear to me over 42 years of medical practice, and it is particularly clear in this time of public health crisis due to COVID-19,” said Preston Maring, M.D., a retired Kaiser Permanente physician who serves on the Medical Advisory Committee of the California Food is Medicine Coalition, and the Board of POH. “Project Open Hand has provided nutritious food to the most in need since the beginning of the AIDS epidemic and they do it today and every day. The organization absolutely makes a difference in people’s lives.”

Residents in the six-county, San Francisco Bay Area region comprised of San Francisco, Alameda, Santa Clara, Contra Costa, San Mateo and Marin Counties were issued a Stay at Home Order effective 12:01am on Tuesday March 17, 2020.  This Order requires all individuals anywhere within these counties to shelter in place.  Exceptions to leave their place of residence to provide or receive government and business services considered essential activities may be made; however, all precautions must be taken including social distancing, hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes, staying home when sick and working remotely. Among the essential services include “businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals.” 

Project Open Hand (POH) is closely monitoring the latest updates from the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention (CDC) and the local San Francisco agencies on the coronavirus (COVID-19). The organization has quickly adapted their operations to ensure the safety of staff, volunteers and clients.

POH’s mission is to improve health outcomes and quality of life by providing nutritious meals to the sick and vulnerable, caring for and educating our community. As an essential services provider and public health partner, POH will continue to be open during this medical crisis and serve the community as the Bay Area implements the “shelter in place” order.

“For over three decades Project Open Hand has provided nutritious meals for people in San Francisco and Alameda county dealing with serious illnesses,” states Paul Hepfer, CEO of Project Open Hand, “This is what we do, it’s who we are. We are doing all we can to keep up our current level of service and prepare for what will certainly be an increased demand for our meals in the weeks and months to come.”

Project Open Hand has been seriously impacted at many levels. The organization’s cost-effective model has been able to serve nearly 1 million meals a year because of its nearly 9,000 volunteers who assist in all phases of the food production and delivery. Many of the volunteers came from nearby corporations and businesses, but those volunteers are now telecommuting. Additionally, many of the dedicated volunteers and staff are from the age group (60 years and older) that is most at risk of serious consequences if they contract the disease. Within the last few weeks, POH saw a drop of volunteers from 152 to 51. Employees over the age of 60 make up 30 percent of the staffing. This means that the organization must hire temporary staff, redirect paid staff or buy pre-processed ingredients to prepare their meals. This has raised costs for POH.

POH partners with community agencies and senior centers to provide those over 60 and adults with disabilities congregate meals in 16 Community Nutrition Program sites in San Francisco. Five of the 16 have closed their facilities, that will result in approximately 4,000 fewer meals served each month.  In other sites that remain open, POH is offering pick-up service of take-home, frozen or shelf stable meals. POH is joining a feeding task force that has just been established today out of the Emergency Operations Center of San Francisco.


March 16, 2018

As you may have seen, Governor Gavin Newsom gave an Executive Order last night that recommended home isolation of all seniors and those with chronic conditions. We are committed to protecting the most vulnerable and protecting our seniors while continuing to provide the critical medical nutrition needs of those we serve. For this reason, we are strongly encouraging individuals to send a surrogate to pick up meals and/or groceries in our locations which remain open during this time.

Please be aware that we have modified our services for the next 30 days. During this time, clients will be receiving a prepackaged grocery bag or prepackaged medically tailored meal bags in an effort to expedite client service times.

We will continue to keep you up-to-date on any additional changes that may arise as the situation continues to change.
If you have any additional questions or concerns, please reach out to our Client Services team ( [email protected] / (415) 447-2492) for additional options.


March 16, 2020

Please read the following updates to our  Community Nutrition Program sites, where seniors (60 years or older) and adults with disabilities (18-59 years old) would normally gather to receive a warm, nutritious meal. We apologize for the inconvenience this may cause for our clients, but the health and safety for everyone is of the highest priority during this health crisis.

(If site is not listed, they are still open during regular times for modified service).
Aquatic Park – CLOSED until April 7th or further notice
Mission YMCA- CLOSED until April 7th or further notice
Pomeroy – CLOSED until April 7th or further notice
Potrero Hill - CLOSED until April 7th or further notice
Sunset - CLOSED until April 7th or further notice


March 12, 2020

We at Project Open Hand are closely monitoring the latest updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local San Francisco agencies on the coronavirus (COVID-19).

POH is no stranger to addressing public health and nutrition needs of the vulnerable, especially during a medical crisis. We are open and will continue to serve the vulnerable in our community. Many of our volunteers come from nearby corporations and businesses, but are now telecommuting. This means we must hire temporary staff, use our paid staff or buy pre-processed ingredients to prepare our meals. This will raise our costs. If you are healthy and can VOLUNTEER, we need you. If you are able to stretch a little more to support us financially by DONATING, it would help us through this difficult time.

We are also working with our partner agencies to develop policies to react to an outbreak, should it occur in San Francisco and Alameda counties.

In the meantime, what can you do for prevention?

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds. Cover your cough and sneeze. If you are sick, face masks can prevent spread of germs to others, but are not recommended to prevent getting sick. Face masks are NOT a substitute for handwashing.
  •  Stay home when sick. If you or someone you live with has traveled to a country or region with cases of the new virus, and are now sick, call your doctor and tell them about your symptoms and recent travel.
  • Get a flu shot! It will help you avoid flu symptoms which are similar to novel coronavirus symptoms.

To stay informed on news and updates, visit the San Francisco Department of Public Health or the Alameda County Public Health Department websites.


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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