Programs & Services

Open Hand is a nonprofit organization that provides Comprehensive Nutrition Care for a diverse population of men, women and children with unique nutrition needs.  Our programs and services are designed to help clients meet their personal goals and objectives for good health and to assist clients and healthcare providers in the early identification and treatment, as well as the prevention or progression of many nutrition-sensitive illnesses.

Open Hand’s Registered Dietitians plan balanced menus and select products according to the level of nutrition care determined for each client’s needs. All clients receive nutrition education, delivered on a regular basis with the meals, and can access individual or group nutrition education and counseling sessions on topics such as portion control, healthy eating, hands-on food preparation, physical activity, goal-setting, and self-management. Follow up reinforcement is provided by Registered Dietitians and may include review sessions, group training, referral(s) to additional support services, and/or phone consultations. Further support and self-training is available online.

OPEN HAND ENHANCED SERVICES

Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT)
MNT targets a specific medical condition and includes nutrition diagnosis, therapy and counseling services. Designed by the American Dietetic Association, MNT is performed by Open Hand Registered Dietitians following a specific plan of assessment, diagnosis, intervention, evaluation/monitoring, documentation, and communication with client’s primary care provider. This program serves men, women and children who have a nutrition-sensitive chronic disease and who are committed to improving their health through better food choices and modified behaviors. To qualify for this program, individuals must be referred by a qualifying healthcare provider or partner agency.

Nutrition Education & Dietary Counseling
Nutrition Education and Counseling is offered by Registered Dietitians to any Open Hand client. Individual or group sessions have a community or public health focus, and include topics such as portion control, healthy eating, hands-on food preparation, physical activity, goal-setting, and self-management.  Follow-up reinforcement may include review sessions, group training, referral(s) to additional support services, and/or phone consultations.

OPEN HAND MEALS PROGRAMS

Prepared Meals   See Sample Menu
Our Prepared Meals Program provides one, two or three freshly cooked meals, combined with snacks or supplements, to meet the daily nutrition needs of low-income men, women and children who are dealing with a critical, chronic, or terminal disease; and homebound seniors. Prepared meals are designed by our registered dietitians to meet individual clients’ dietary requirements/health conditions: our Healthy Balance menu meets the needs of those seeking to prevent or control high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes; our Renal/Dialysis menu is designed for people with chronic renal insufficiency: 2 grams sodium (660 mg/meal), and 2 grams potassium (660 mg/meal); our Vegetarian meals are prepared without meat, poultry, fish or dairy products; and Mechanical Soft meals are designed to minimize amount of chewing necessary to ingest foods. Open Hand can also accommodate individual or cultural preferences: No Fish, No Red Meat,  or No Pork.

Dependent Children’s Meals
The Dependent Children’s Meals Program provides meals to the dependent children of Open Hand clients, regardless of the child's health status. Open Hand initiated this program upon learning that clients who were parents were dividing their daily meals with their children in order to assure the child received proper nutrition. As natural as the parental instinct to assure their children’s needs are met before their own, utilizing the provided meals in this way is ultimately detrimental to the health and well-being of both the child and the client. By providing nutritious meals for both clients and their children, this program aims to maintain both the clients’ health and the well-being of the children, preventing malnutrition, and supporting their healthy growth and development.

Open Hand Pantry
The Pantry Program provides a weekly supply of nonperishable groceries to low-income, medically-eligible clients who have the ability to prepare their own meals, but who do not have the strength or income to purchase their own groceries.

Emergency Nutrition
The Emergency Nutrition Supplement Program provides meal replacement snacks and nutrition supplements to low-income, medically-eligible men, women and children being served by the Grady Infectious Disease Program during extended waits for their health care appointments. Patients who have had dental procedures at Grady may receive mechanical soft meals provided through this program.

Senior Meals
Since 2000, Open Hand has contracted with Fulton County Office of Aging and Fayette Senior Services to provide home-delivered meals to seniors as well as congregate meals for senior citizen centers. Additionally, in partnership with Visiting Nurses Health System and Senior Citizen Services, Open Hand participates in the Fulton County Senior Collaborative to deliver services in central Fulton County. Our role in the joint venture involves routing and distribution of both home-delivered and congregate meals for 8 senior centers. Through these collaborations, we are able to serve more of our neighbors in need and provide a better quality meal to seniors, while adding additional funding dollars to our budget.

The Senior Market Basket Program
The overall objective of the Senior Market Basket Program is to increase fruit and vegetable consumption, utilization and knowledge in at-risk senior clients whose nutritional needs are not currently being met.

The program is administered by the Fulton County Senior Collaborative, which includes Open Hand, Visiting Nurse Health Services and Senior Citizen Services. Currently, clients receive weekly bags of nutritious food items, including fresh fruits and vegetables and in addition, they receive monthly nutrition education materials that outline the health benefits of fruits and vegetables, as well as simple and practical recipes that incorporate them.

Although most of these seniors receive meals from Open Hand or Senior Citizen Services, they continue to have limited access to other healthy foods. Many live in communities without major grocery stores, others are severely limited in their daily activities and are unable to get to food stores, and some receive only limited assistance. The provision of these market baskets enables these seniors to make better choices and sustain a healthier lifestyle, which in itself supports the nutritious home-delivered meals and chronic disease management support Open Hand provides.

Watch the Senior Market Basket Program video.