| May 2013
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By Corrie M. Anders
After providing low-cost hot lunches to seniors in Noe Valley for nearly 15 years—most recently at St. Philip’s parish hall—Project Open Hand has announced it will stop delivering meals to the local site at the end of May.
The nonprofit organization notified participants in the meal program, also known as the Noe Valley Senior Center, early last month.
“We are devastated,” said Bettina Lord, 70, a longtime participant. “We don’t really know where to go. The other places are hard to get to, and we like our coordinator,” she said, referring to site coordinator Wendy Cohen, who has managed the program for eight years.
According to Maria Stokes, a spokesperson for Project Open Hand, the St. Philip’s location has experienced steadily declining attendance over the last two years.
During the first three months of this year, Stokes noted, the site attracted only a dozen or so daily attendees—below the number needed to maintain deliveries. At least 30 seniors must participate under the guidelines of the San Francisco Department on Aging and Adult Services, which each year earmarks funding for Project Open Hand and other senior lunch programs across the city.
Project Open Hand began its meal operation in September 1998 at the Noe Valley Ministry at 1021 Sanchez St. In 2010, the Noe Valley Senior Center relocated to St. Philip’s, 725 Diamond St., after the Ministry was shuttered for renovations.
With Project Open Hand leaving Noe Valley in June, seniors needing a free or low-cost meal (suggested donation $2) will have to travel to other spots. The closest sites to Noe Valley are the Castro Senior Center at 110 Diamond St. and the 30th Street Senior Center at 225 30th St. (lunch provided by On Lok Lifeways).