Open Hand began with just a handful of volunteers in the soup kitchen at St. Bart’s in 1988. From there friends, loved ones, and coworkers were recruited, bolstering our ability to cook and deliver healthy meals for those who were disenfranchised by HIV/AIDS. Our volunteers were the first to show our at-risk neighbors that food is love.
With the week of April 17th being National Volunteer Week, we wanted to take a moment of reflection. Open Hand simply wouldn’t be where we are today without the overwhelming perseverance of our volunteers. Together, we provided 1.5 million meals in 2021 to our underserved neighbors living with chronic illness, disability, our seniors, and those who were otherwise homebound. Last year alone, volunteers gave well over 13,000 hours of their time, and many answered the call to deliver meals for the first time.
Over the years we’ve had the honor of having countless incredible individuals come through our doors, ready to help however they can. And while we can only highlight a couple here, know that no matter when or how much time you’ve given to Open Hand, you’ve helped make a real impact on the health and wellbeing of those in the community who need it most.
Colleen has been volunteering with us for years, but started coming regularly since 2017. Colleen was such a regular presence at Open Hand that many assumed she was an employee with the way she'd sign in and head to the packing line on her own! Colleen’s dedication to Open Hand is probably best displayed by all the days she provided support during the height of he pandemic. It is an honor to recognize Colleen as one of Open Hand’s most valued volunteers!
"I love giving my time to Open Hand because I'm helping fulfill an important mission to provide a service that is so needed in Atlanta! The camaraderie among employees and volunteers makes it all the better too.”
Marlon has been a constant for the past four years at Open Hand, and will often find him in our kitchen (his favorite spot!) cooking alongside the staff. One thing that sets Marlon apart from other volunteers is his proven skill set, and has been trusted with higher level tasks in the kitchen that provide a huge help to our staff. Marlon also stayed with us through the pandemic, which we're incredibly grateful for!
“I started volunteering at Open Hand on a regular basis in 2018. I find it to be a rewarding experience giving back to the community while pursuing my passion for cooking. A bonus is working with the great people at Open Hand!”
If you’d like to join an incredible group of people dedicated to the nutrition of our community, sign up for a volunteer shift today. We’re always looking for help with:
- Meal Delivery. Connect with our clients and deliver meals straight to their door. We load the meals into your car at Open Hand, route out your deliveries, and in about 2 hours you'll have made a direct impact on our at-risk neighbors.
- Meal Packing. Sign up individually or with a group and join us in the Open Hand kitchen! Help us pack the nearly 5,000 healthy meals we cook and prepare every day.
Thank you, volunteers!