Dec Matt Message

Reflections on 2023

As I look back on this past year, I'm not sure that I've ever been more proud of how our Board, staff, volunteers, and numerous community partners pulled together to have an unprecedented year of positive impact on the many clients we serve. The number of accomplishments are too many to list, but I'll share just a few highlights that come to mind. 

  • CareSource Funding: Evaluating the impact of medically tailored meals
     and nutrition counseling on women with gestational diabetes and other high-risk pregnancy issues has been so insightful. We look forward to continuing to deliver this service and improve the health of those who are pregnant.

  • Reducing barriers that prevent older adults from accessing nutrition counseling and other services via the internet: This work, underwritten by the Association of Community Living (ACL) is ongoing, but is already surfacing opportunities to create this as a viable channel to reach older adults throughout Georgia. 

  • Further Accreditation: Through the hard work of our knowledgeable Registered Dietitian Nutritionists, we were accredited by the Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialist (ADCES).

  • Growing Impact: Cherokee County Senior Services selected Open Hand to be their primary nutrition provider.

  • Sharing Expertise: I'm proud to have presented at national, regional, and local conferences along with many of our staff members who are being tapped to share their expertise. 

  • Delivering 35 million meals in 35 years: We were deeply honored that the Mayor
     of Atlanta delivered our 35th millionth meal... and went above and beyond to shine a spotlight on Open Hand's mission. Thank you Mayor Andre Dickens!

  • Healthiest Employers: Open Hand was once again named by the Atlanta Business Chronicle as one of the healthiest employers in metro Atlanta.

  • Public announcement of The Healing Power of Food: The ongoing success of
     our capital campaign, The Healing Power of Food, has been so encouraging as we get closer to our $19.5 million goal. We're thrilled to relocate to our new campus next year!

  • Carvana Haulerdays: We were deeply honored that Carvana gifted three of our wonderful volunteers a car so that they can continue their invaluable delivery services for our clients.

  • "New Look... Same Love": Successfully launched a brand refresh, including a new logo, colors, and website

On a more sentimental note, one of our highlights was bringing together so many of  our referral partners, legislatures, long-time volunteers, and major donors, at St. Bartholomew's during our Stakeholder Reception. 

St. Bart's on LaVista Road is where "Project Open Hand" launched our nutrition services back in 1988 to individuals who were battling a HIV/AIDS diagnosis. It was an especially poignant evening as we remembered and honored our roots and our past, joined by so many volunteers from those early days who spent time in St. Barts kitchen, and also joined by St. Barts leadership who reflected on those profound days. The evening brought tears to my eyes as it did to many in the audience. Throughout the evening, we praised our founder Michael Edwards as well as my predecessors including Stephen Woods and Loretta Redd (just to name a few)... and all those volunteers and Board members who gave birth to what Open Hand has become today.

I'm grateful to all who are engaged with Open Hand, and I look forward to a new year of service, building on top of all our achievements over the past 35 years in service of others. It's going to be another exciting year! 

Wishing everyone a wonderful, safe, and restful holiday season. Let's get ready for 2024!


Matthew Pieper, Executive Director
Posted December 21, 2023