Marilynn & Matt: “A Bit of Serendipity”

Back in the early ‘90s, when Open Hand Atlanta was still known as Project Open Hand, Matt Bolch began volunteering with us, eventually joining our team of volunteer delivery drivers.

As someone with family and friends in the gay community, the former Atlanta Journal-Constitution editor and now marketing writer for Syntellis Performance Solutions understood the devastation of the AIDS epidemic and wanted to do his part to support relief efforts.

Later he’d join St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church and, in a bit of serendipity, learned this was the same church where Project Open Hand had gotten its start. This was also where Matt would meet his now wife, Marilynn Richtarik, an English professor at Georgia State University. She’d fill in for Matt when he couldn’t drive his route and packed meals with us several times—at least once with the Southern Bears, as she learned after wondering to Matt why there had been so many burly and bearded men volunteering that night!

When Matt and Marilynn got married, the couple decided that they’d forgo traditional wedding presents. Instead, they asked their guests to make donations to Open Hand and another local charity. By the end of their wedding day, they’d raised nearly $2,000!

Today, they remain dedicated donors. In fact, just last month Matt and Marilynn made a $2,000 donation in honor of their 20th wedding anniversary.

When asked why they continue to give, in addition to their connection to our original mission, they say, “Food is such a basic need, and we like how Open Hand supports the nutritional needs of older folks and those with chronic conditions. Dollar wise, Open Hand has always been one of the charities we support the most.”

We’re truly humbled to have Matt and Marilynn as longtime donors, and for their support in our mission from almost the very beginning. Happy 20th anniversary—here’s to many more!

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