Two nonprofits that work together to grow organic produce and feed nutritious meals to those in need in the Tri-Valley raised more than $160,000 this month.

Open Heart Kitchen, a nonprofit that prepares food free of charge for anyone who’s hungry, held its yearly fundraiser on Sept. 13 at the Palm Event Center in Pleasanton. More than 300 attended the fifth annual event, which brought in about $100,000. That’s $42,000 more than last year.

Kaiser Permanente won Open Heart Kitchen's volunteer group award with workers spending more than 250 hours helping the nonprofit in Livermore, Pleasanton, Dublin and dozens of Tri-Valley schools.

The Oakland-based Kaiser gave Open Heart a $40,000 grant for its bagged lunch program. The program currently serves more than 4,800 Tri-Valley children.

Open Heart served 328,000 meals last year. The nonprofit’s programs include a daily hot meals, help for seniors and bags of food for children to take home so they don’t go hungry on weekends.

Development Director Denise Bridges said the meals provide a safety net for those in need during challenging times.

“This is a wonderful organization that meets a critical need in our community,” Tammy Reus, of Livermore, said.

Open Heart Executive Director Heather Greaux talked about the nonprofit’s plans to move into one kitchen once construction of the Housing Consortium of the East Bay building in Livermore is complete.

Fertile GroundWorks, a nonprofit that grows organic produce to help feed the hungry, raised more than $60,000 at its annual Taste for Giving event on Sept. 8. Fertile GroundWorks donates 75% of its vegetables to Open Heart.

The nonprofit started growing produce in 2010 in a field behind Asbury United Methodist Church in Livermore. It has grown from six planting beds to 76 that supplied more than 19,000 pounds of organic produce in 2018. Fertile GroundWorks expects to produce more than 26,000 pounds this year.

“This is a wonderful cooperation between both organizations,” said Livermore resident Jean King, who attended both fundraisers. “They complement each other in their wishes to help those in need in our communities.”