NAI Northern California volunteers with Project Open Hand in San Francisco

On Tuesday, August 13th, NAI Northern California and Piedmont Financing volunteered with Project Open Hand in San Francisco. Six brokers, staff, and advisors from the companies’ San Francisco office worked at the Grocery Center peeling and chopping sweet potatoes for sick and vulnerable people in the Bay Area. Project Open Hand’s volunteer coordinator, Kelly Wong, described the nonprofit’s origin during the AIDS crisis and their mission of providing healthy, nutritious meals to people with critical illnesses.

The team donned hairnets, gloves, and aprons, except Investment Advisor Kevin Royer; he had read the instructions and worn his own hat. (The rest of the volunteers were a little jealous, as they felt hairnets were not the most flattering look.) As the team got started, another of Project Open Hand’s coordinators gave them a quick lesson in sweet potato peeling techniques before they set to work. When almost all the potatoes were peeled, most of the team switched to chopping the potatoes into cubes; another volunteer at Project Open Hand taught knife safety and dicing skills.

By the time the volunteer shift was over, they had peeled and diced five cases (135 pounds) of sweet potatoes, over twenty pounds per person. Market analyst Cole Byrd said, “Project Open Hand was a fun and eye-opening experience that makes you realize that a little effort can go a long way for the community. It was also a great time to bond with coworkers; I found it a very fulfilling experience.”

Investment advisor Trey Sells, who also volunteered at the Oakland location last month, said, “”I loved seeing how a small donation of our time and teamwork was able to produce such a large amount of prepared food for the community.”

“Learning that this massive operation started with one woman cooking for people after work is living proof that big dreams with powerful impacts really come true,” said Investment Advisor Kevin Royer (with the hat). “Taking a couple of hours out of the day to help feed over 2,500 people in need gave me a great feeling, and it was amazing to see how our small role could have such a great effect on thousands of people throughout San Francisco. Plus it is always nice to connect with colleagues over non-work stuff while still being productive. And I became a professional in the kitchen after only a few hours!”

In a thank-you letter from Project Open Hand, their volunteer coordinator wrote, “The amount of hard work, energy, and enthusiasm your group brought was much appreciated! Thank you for your generous donation of 2.5 hours of service. We look forward to working with you again in the future.”

See all the photos from the event on NAI Northern California’s Facebook page.


Founded in 1985, Project Open Hand is a nonprofit organization that provides meals with love to critically ill neighbors and seniors. Their food is like medicine, helping clients recover from illness, get stronger, and lead healthier lives.

Every day, they prepare 2,500 nutritious meals and provide 200 bags of healthy groceries to help sustain their clients as they battle serious illnesses, isolation, or the health challenges of aging. They serve San Francisco and Oakland, engaging more than 125 volunteers daily to nourish their community.

Learn more or sign up to volunteer at