Difficult Times Demand Action
Open Hand has weathered many storms in our 33-year history, sometimes bending but never breaking. I can say without a doubt that between supply chain issues, food and gas inflation, and labor shortages impacting our operations (as well as our clients’ lives), this has certainly been one of the tougher times. Difficult times demand action and I have been proud of how our team continues to push through and find solutions to some of these challenges.
As gas prices are at a historic all-time high, our Distribution team appealed to our primary fuel supplier to award us with a temporary modest discounted price per gallon given our mission and plight. As we have been paying 43% more on fuel this year than last year, my Distribution team understands that every cent counts.
Case in point, when our plastic meal tray supplier that sells trays manufactured in China informed us that we needed to anticipate a six-month lead time when placing orders for more inventory (due to supply chain issues), our Sourcing team immediately went to work to find a different supplier based in the U.S. Similarly, our food suppliers, of which there are many, have also been confronted with serious supply chain issues. In response, our Sourcing team has spent countless hours researching substitute food products that meet our incredibly high standards for quality and nutrition. This was a heavy lift.
To contend with labor shortage issues, my Human Resource Management team stepped up recruitment efforts by coordinating numerous job fairs to promote our opportunities. These are just a few of the steps we have taken in order to fight for our mission.
As challenging as these matters have been for Open Hand, I have been especially concerned about the wellbeing of our clients, most who live well below the poverty level. We have seen an increase in demand for our services and know that our clients need us more than ever. As you will see from this article that was published in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, I felt it was important to shine a spotlight on these challenges that all food access programs are experiencing.
I am grateful to our many volunteers and donors who give so generously their time and resources to see us through this dark period in our countries’ history. Your kindness inspires us to keep pushing forward and do all that we can to bring our services to our neighbors in need. As you plan your charitable gifts between now and the end of the year, I ask that you keep Open Hand top of mind and give as generously as you are able.
With deep gratitude,
Matthew Pieper, Executive Director