Open Hand’s legacy of service to the Georgia community began over 27 years ago, when then founder, Michael Edwards, was joined by several of his friends to cook meals for neighbors who were dying of HIV/AIDS. Today, Open Hand helps people prevent or better manage chronic disease through the combination of home-delivered meals and nutrition education as a means to reinforce the connection between informed food choices and improved quality of life.
To support the mission, Open Hand offers nutrition programming that empowers WIC/SNAP eligible individuals with the skills, knowledge, and confidence to better manage their food resources and prepare affordable, healthy meal while applying a whole-system approach to food insecurity, linking access to affordable produce through Fruit and Vegetable Prescription programs, social marketing and healthy retail initiatives throughout Georgia. Through the program’s work with WIC, Open Hand Atlanta trains, supports and provides technical expertise in the implementation of Cooking Matters at WIC clinics in GA. The participatory sessions engage participants in hands on interactive learning in order to collectively develop culinary skills, dietary self-efficacy and self-determination.
For 2017 Open Hand Atlanta received SNAP ED funding to support healthy retail marketing as well as social marketing funding to use in Georgia to support nutrition and food access messaging. Open Hand Atlanta and Wayfield Foods has launched a private and public partnership to market fresh produce with the Eat Brighter program in the Wayfield MLK store, with an expansion of three additional stores in 2018. And Open Hand Atlanta supports the work of the Fresh MARTA Markets with cooking demonstrations and a social marketing campaign of MARTA videos, posters and radio advertisements.
Open Hand Atlanta is proud to support Georgia Shape and is able to offer evidence based nutrition education programs that develop life-long healthy eating habits, including Cooking Matters courses and Store Tours for adults, teens and kids in both English and Spanish. This year, Open Hand has completed 48 classes in Metro Atlanta, six classes in Northeast Georgia, nine classes in South Georgia, and graduated 1,275 individuals from the grocery store tour. To learn more visit: www.ohcookingmatters.org.