August 2011, Posted by Rachel Dornhelm: A memorial service is planned for September 16th to honor Ruth Brinker. She's the 89-year-old matriarch who founded Project Open Hand. The organization serves hot meals to people with HIV and other illnesses.
Brinker passed away on Monday of natural causes. The group's Development Director Bob Brenneman told KQED News that Brinker was a fearless woman.
She started Open Hand at a very scary time here in San Francisco and at a time when a lot of people her age were figuring they can settle back and enjoy retirement. She saw how the AIDS epidemic was affecting so many people and she knew she could do something about it and she just rolled up her sleeves and did it.
Project Open Hand now serves hot meals to some 7,200 people in San Francisco and Alameda counties every year. Brinker's work has inspired the formation of more than 100 similar groups in the U.S. and abroad.
The current executive director of Project Open Hand posted his remembrance here.
The site for the memorial has yet to be determined.