Filling the Prescription for Nutrition

November 16, 2016

by Samantha Timmons

With an estimated 29.1 million adults and 13.1 million children across the U.S. experiencing hunger each day, it’s a meaningful victory when one less person goes to bed with an empty stomach. But for America’s most underserved communities – communities which also have the highest incidence of chronic disease – food is so much more than nourishment. It’s medicine.

For over 28 years, Open Hand Atlanta has been at the forefront of the “food is medicine” movement, providing medically-tailored meals at no charge to individuals with nutrition-sensitive chronic conditions such as diabetes, HIV/AIDS, kidney disease and heart disease. This expanded outreach serves a transformative role, as studies have shown that quality nutrition interventions can improve overall health and significantly reduce healthcare costs for patients with chronic illnesses. In some cases, nutrition interventions can even help prevent the onset of chronic conditions entirely. So each day, with the help of over 8,000 annual volunteers, Open Hand Atlanta provides around 5,500 of these medically-tailored meals to underserved communities in 19 metro area counties.

Open Hand’s willingness to champion this critical, yet often overlooked issue made them the perfect FH|70 partner for cultivating genuine inclusion in the Atlanta community. To kick off the partnership, 20 FleishmanHillard staff traveled to Open Hand’s facilities to prepare meals for hundreds of its clients. Over the course of two days, the Atlanta office combined for over 60 hours of service by hand-packaging and delivering nearly 2,000 nutritious meals to our friends and neighbors all across the city.

In the midst of their deliveries, our team ran into one such member – a special woman named Betty White. A former employee of Open Hand herself, Betty recently suffered a stroke that cost her the use of her right hand. Left with the inability to do simple tasks like cooking or driving, Mrs. White began to receive Open Hand meals that were prepared with her specific medical needs in mind. As a result, Mrs. White is now on a healthy road to recovery and a welcome return to normalcy.

We left Open Hand invigorated by a new sense of what it truly means to serve our communities, and more importantly, what it means to serve our communities that need it most.