About Us

The Food Pantry's Story

Hunger is real in Oakland County.  The Open Hands Food Pantry was started in a small closet to provide food for neighbors in need. Today it serves 14,000 annually with food and toiletries. Through the generosity of our all volunteer staff, Open Hands distributes food twice a week to Oakland County residents.  

Open Hands is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and has expanded to include the Open Hands garden to provide fresh produce to food pantry clients.

Open Hands Board

  • Janet Warren, Operations Manager
  • Peter Baird
  • Bruce Donigan, Chair
  • Cheryl Fehan
  • Barbara Heath, Secretary
  • Cathy Holcomb, Treasurer
  • Dennis Spatafora, Open Hands Garden
  • Andy Stewart
  • The Rev. Beth Taylor
  • Chuck Tucker
  • Kathy Whyard

Our Garden and its Future

The Open Hands Garden was the brainchild of Dennis Spatafora.   Dennis, an engineer by profession, volunteered at Earthworks Urban Farm, a ministry of the Capuchins in Detroit and saw the impact of fresh produce on the food insecure.  He approached St. John's Episcopal Church for the use of their property. Through the work of a dedicated and hardworking core Steering Committee the garden was amazingly successful from the start. In 2017 the garden joined Open Hands under its independent 501(c)(3) non profit organization designation.  

This summer the garden was the recipient of an automated irrigation system designed by Oakland University engineers as their capstone project.  Their services, ideas and hard work was gifted to the garden.  

The hope for the future is to extend the garden's giving season by construction of a Hoop House.  An exploration committee is forming now. 


Visit the garden's facebook page.

Open Hands Food Pantry and Garden

Located inside 

St. John's Episcopal Church

26998 Woodward Avenue at 11 Mile

Royal Oak MI 48067 


Pantry @OpenHandsPantry.org