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 food in his apartment and delivering it to a few men living with AIDS who had become too sick to cook for themselves. Three decades later, our operation has grown into a 21,000-square-foot building with a state-of-the-art kitchen that allows us to cook and deliver half a million meals annually to more than 1,000 people each week with the help of over 5,000 volunteers.

After 20 years of serving people living with HIV/AIDS, Open Arms realized that the need for healthy food is the same, whatever the medical diagnosis. So we opened our arms wider to include people living with cancer, multiple sclerosis and ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). We also serve caregivers and dependents.

As we mark three decades as an organization, we are thankful for our tremendous community. 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.

 

Watch “Open Arms: The Film – Celebrating 30 Years of Hope” 
Take a deeper dive into our history with this heartwarming 30-min. look at how a community of everyday citizens created an organization that has nourished thousands of neighbors living with life-threatening illnesses.

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