Open Heart, Open Hand: AIDS

"I really believe that people with AIDS are dying of malnutrition, not AIDS"

Ruth Brinker is grandmother incarnate, a balm of memories and sympathies. As she sits at the edge of his messy bed, the young blond man pries the lid off his dinner. An Italian omelet, roast potatoes, broccoli. The cramped hotel room actually smells of home. "Ruth," he says, "I love you."

At that very moment, several dozen volunteers are playing out the same scene in several hundred rooms and apartments all across San Francisco, feeding and cheering men and women with AIDS. These volunteers are the soldiers of Project Open Hand, which Brinker, 66, started in 1985. She and her workers...

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