As part of our Outreach Program we dedicated this Martin Luther King’s birthday to give back to the community by volunteering with Open Hand Atlanta. For 22 years now, Open Hand has been helping people prevent or better manage chronic disease through Comprehensive Nutrition Care™, which combines home-delivered meals and nutrition education as a means to reinforce the connection between informed food choices and improved quality of life.
Volunteer Coordinator at Open Hand Atlanta: Miss Shawan Allen briefs us on the history of the organization and the role of volunteers. Open Hand Atlanta is doing a tremendous job in Atlanta providing nutritious meals to patients with chronic diseases such as Cancer and HIV who otherwise are unable to cook their own food.
At the end of our first shift we had packaged 952 food items into 238 meal packages. Open Hand Atlanta delivers over 6,000 meals daily.
Hear what Open Hand Atlanta Clients are saying.
Please read the following letter from Open Hand Atlanta to Women In Leadership Development and Empowerment:
Thank you for volunteering with Open Hand!
Thank you so much for volunteering in January! Your time and dedication to our mission mean so much to us and our clients! YOU are one of the reasons we’re able to prepare, package and deliver more than 5,000 fresh, medically appropriate meals every day, nearly TWO million meals annually, and provide nutrition education to thousands of men, women, children and homebound seniors throughout Atlanta and 17 surrounding counties.
Here is the story of an Open Hand client you have helped:
Mike R., firmly believes that receiving medically appropriate, nutritionally balanced meals is the key ingredient to managing his illnesses. He became a client in the late 90’s due to nutritional needs associated with HIV. He left Atlanta for a time but quickly learned there wasn’t an organization like Open Hand to help with his nutrition, a vital component in managing HIV.
Upon returning to Atlanta, he began receiving meals from Open Hand again. Although this helped him get back on the right track, he admits he was going through a rough time personally, eating starchy, sugary, processed foods in addition to his prescribed meals.
This behavior, not surprisingly, developed into acute Type 2 diabetes and Mike was immediately started on insulin shots. The advice from his medical team, including a dietitian, was to eat a balanced diet, including a variety of colored vegetables. The meals he receives from Open Hand, as Mike puts it are “exactly what the doctor ordered”.
Mike committed to following his prescribed Open Hand meal plan…and began walking for exercise. He soon found that he no longer needed insulin shots, only taking Metformin and one other daily pill. He added supervised resistance training to his health regimen and today no longer needs any medication to control his blood sugar. Mike says he is now able to keep his blood sugar levels in a good range, and is thankful to Open Hand for giving him the tools and proper food to do so. He now understands the huge difference “…between warming up a sausage versus eating broccoli and a balanced meal. Eating well in general, but especially while living with HIV and diabetes is so important, and it will help me live longer.”
We hope that you will continue to support health and wellness in our community and beyond!
We had a lot of fun packaging these meals and the overall experience was a feeling of joy and satisfaction. A day well spent. We plan on doing more volunteering with Open Hand Atlanta.
Read their story by visiting http://www.projectopenhand.org/s-about-story-history.asp