History

From a single act of kindness to thousands of nutritious meals

Founder Bill Rowe

Open Arms began as a single act of kindness in 1986 — our founder, Bill Rowe, cooking a meal in his apartment and delivering it to a friend with HIV/AIDS. Two decades later, we’ve grown to our 21,000-square-foot building with a state-of-the-art kitchen that allows us to cook and deliver 460,000 meals annually to more than 850 people each week with the help of 2,200 volunteers.

In the intervening years, Open Arms and its stakeholders have realized that the need for healthy food is the same, whatever the medical diagnosis. So, we’ve opened our arms a little wider to include people living with cancer, HIV/AIDS, MS, and ALS, as well as their caregivers and dependents. Open Arms also partners with several non-profit organizations in South Africa to provide food and nutrition to people infected and affected by HIV/AIDS.

None of this would have been possible without the generous support of our volunteers and donors, folks like you, who make it possible for us to continue to be innovative in our work and to do it with enthusiasm and responsibility.

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