Open Hand Atlanta: Improving lives of Georgians in need one meal at a time [#BetterTogether]

TechBridge Blog   Angie Wynne   January 19, 2017   

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About TechBridge’s #BetterTogether Campaign

TechBridge is proud to have assisted so many organizations on the front lines of social change in our communities— alleviating homelessness, fighting poverty, helping kids do better in school, making sure seniors get proper meals, and so much more. We provide technology solutions that build the capacity of nonprofits to achieve better results and to form community-based collaboratives that drive measurable and sustainable change.

 We created the #BetterTogether campaign so that we can showcase some of the important efforts of the nonprofits we’ve worked with. We feel that these stories exemplify the transformational work that can happen when organizations and individuals work hard— together— towards a common goal. We hope that hearing these stories is as inspirational to you as it is to us. 

Open Hand Atlanta: Improving lives of Georgians in Need one Meal at a Time

We checked in with our friends at Open Hand Atlanta in mid-December. We enjoyed a tour of their busy kitchens and the rest of their facility and then sat down to chat with Open Hand about how they serve the community and what they're excited about for the future:

Open Hand  is the largest provider of meals and nutrition information in the Southeast. They deliver medically-appropriate (and tasty!) meals, nutrition education & therapy to homebound seniors and under-served individuals challenged by chronic disease. But Open Hand sees themselves as more than a traditional meal delivery organization. They're rebels and innovators working to change the dialog around nutrition in a community-based setting.

Many health-impaired seniors can't afford proper nutrition or are unable to prepare their own meals. As a result, their diets put them at risk for chronic disease. That's where Open Hand steps in. Last year, more than 3,400 people with chronic and/or critical illnesses and disabilities in metro Atlanta counties benefited from Open Hand’s nutrition programs. These programs cut average health care costs and reduced hospitalization for clients.

The number of meals Open Hand needed to deliver grew quickly, and they soon found themselves tasked with delivering over 5,000 meals per day. This rapid growth created unidentified complexity and inefficiencies in all areas of operations. Sometimes they had too much food, for example, and sometimes they didn't have enough. Open Hand reached out to TechBridge for help.

When we first started working with Open Hand in 2014 we mapped their current business process and helped unravel the tangle of  inefficiencies within it. We assessed their technology infrastructure and created seventy-five process maps along with detailed recommendations for improvements. 

Open Hand is currently working to fund a complete overhaul of their entire IT system. TechBridge's John Jarvis spends hours on-site every week helping them streamline and consolidate servers and eliminating bottlenecks that could prevent clients from receiving the food they need. "Our team is inspired to work with an organization that is thinking beyond the status quo when it comes to nutrition," says Jarvis. This work will also enable Open Hand to offer better meal choices to customers. At this point, says executive director Matt Pieper, TechBridge is "family".

This revamping, which is set to begin rolling out in January, will save Open Hand money and allow them to ramp up capacity and realize their goal of scaling up their services to reach Georgians in more rural areas.

"At the end of the day, it's about helping neighbors in need," says Matt Pieper.

We'll be bringing you more stories about awesome nonprofits in the coming weeks. And because social change is a community effort, you’ll also get to hear about the generous sponsors, amazing technology partners and tireless volunteers and TechBridge staff who enable us to do the work that we do. We are, indeed #bettertogether.

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