(Chicago, IL) – The Vital Bridges Center on Chronic Care/Heartland Health Outreach, Inc. originally began its life as “Open Hand Chicago”. The Windy City Times movingly recounts the organization’s roots.
by Kate Sosin, Windy City Times, November 23, 2011.
On the blustery cold Christmas Eve night of 1988, Greg Harris found himself driving in circles.
With just one hot meal left to deliver in Rogers Park and the temperature plummeting, Harris considered going home. He couldn’t find the building, and he and another volunteer had been driving for hours.
A few months earlier, in August, Harris and others had made a promise. Harris was part of a rag-tag group of LGBT Chicagoans and allies who watched their community not just die of AIDS complications, but die hungry and often alone.
“We’re going to make sure that no one in the city of Chicago who has AIDS goes hungry,” Harris had said.
So despite the cold and his own fatigue, Harris found his way to a door at the end of a tight gangway. Sitting behind the door covered in blankets was a man who had been waiting for hours for his only meal of the day. The man was relieved he had not been forgotten.
Harris broke down and cried.
“You’re not just delivering meals, you’re delivering life to people,” he recalled.