Peanut Butter Helps San Francisco Nonprofit Spread Meals

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A tub of Project Open Hand Peanut Butter. (Photo courtesy Project Open Hand)

A tub of Project Open Hand Peanut Butter. (Photo courtesy Project Open Hand)

KCBS Community Corner
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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Project Open Hand has been providing meals to the homebound and critically ill, elderly, and those living with HIV/AIDS in San Francisco and Alameda County since 1985 and they continue to search for new ways to serve the needy in our community.

Their latest project comes in the form of peanuts.

KCBS’ Connie C. Kim talks to Dan Schuman, Director of Operations at Project Open Hand, about the new Project Open Hand Peanut Butter.

Project Open Hand Director of Operations Dan Schuman (Project Open Hand)

Project Open Hand Director of Operations Dan Schuman (Project Open Hand)

Project Open Hand serves nutritious bags of groceries to their clients every week including fresh fruits and vegetables, dried beans, rice, eggs, milk, and peanut butter – a client favorite.

However, Dan Schuman, Director of Operations at Project Open Hand, was dissatisfied with the quality and price of the peanut butter. The product contained trans fat, corn sugar and other ingredients and the wholesale price started to rise, and eventually doubled. That’s when Schuman started searching for an alternative. When he saw those peanut grinders in other grocery stores, he thought, why not grind our own peanut butter?

“The initial response just within the agency when I said ‘hey we could do this’ was ‘are you sure?'” Schuman described the early skepticism with his colleagues. “But I was able to locate a refurbished machine for about a thousand dollars. Once we got the grinder up and running, I made believers out of everybody.”

With this new peanut butter, they were able to cut costs by 40%,

Luis grinds fresh peanuts. (Project Open Hand)

Luis grinds fresh peanuts. (Project Open Hand)

plus improve quality, freshness, and eliminate additives. The Project Open Hand Peanut Butter is made only with peanuts and a team of volunteers grind it fresh everyday.

The feedback was so positive that this peanut butter is now available for purchase in several Bay Area locations, such as Whole Foods, and 100% of all proceeds go straight back to Project Open Hand.

“A single tub provides enough money for more than one meal per client,” Schuman said.

In addition to purchasing a tub of this fresh peanut butter to help the nonprofit, there are many ways to get involved with the organization.

During these tough times of cuts to social services and rising food costs, the agency continues to struggle and is always in need of donations and volunteers. It takes about 100 volunteers, 90 full time staff, and additional part time staff to serve their clients everyday.

Volunteers are needed for a variety of projects including chopping vegetables in the kitchen, delivering meals, and shopping in the grocery center for clients.

To learn more about volunteering at Project Open Hand, go to www.openhand.org.

Watch “The Peanut Story” — a short film about their homemade peanut butter.

Learn more about Project Open Hand Peanut Butter and find out where you can buy some.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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