This year, Open Hand/Heartland Alliance is celebrating its 30th year of service to the LGBTQ community in providing assistance in housing, healthcare, jobs, and more.
The program first started as "Meals on Wheels" and individuals like Lori Cannonan advocate for the LGBTQ community who is the Open Hand's co=-foundersaw an opportunity to break through and protect those dying from HIV and AIDS.
"The 30th anniversary... When you think about 18 million meals, it's jarring, stirring, bittersweetbut we're proud at what the volunteers and I were able to offer," Cannon said to Windy City Times at a July 10 event at Groceryland that involved an announcement of a grant from Fifth Third Bank. "We were delivering food on the street and we would clutch their hand, no one would even touch them."
As for the July 10 event, a grant totaling $6,500 will go toward the food pantry's services and supplies.
Along with Fifth Third Bank's Andrew Hayes and his mother, 48th Ward Alderman Harry Osterman and former local television journalist Merri Dee praised Cannon and the volunteers for their hard work in the community.
Osterman commended Cannon on her work and told everyone, "When you think of 18 million meals, you think it's love. You think of the food that was donated, the food that was delivered, the food that was prepared for people that need it mostthat's that labor of love from Lori."
For more information on Open Hand/Heartland Alliance, visit HeartlandHealthOutreach.org .