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Top Stories This Week in the Chronicle.
November 25, 2005

LifeCare merger enhanced Open Hand's client services

Columbus--Founded in 1994, Project Open Hand-Columbus is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to meeting the nutritional needs of men, women and children living with HIV and AIDS in Central Ohio. The Project�s objective is to address the causes of malnutrition and wasting that often accompany HIV infection.

Modeled after successful programs in San Francisco, Chicago, Atlanta, and New York, Project Open Hand-Columbus has helped hundreds of people living with AIDS lead more independent and healthier lives. The programs are open to all persons in Central Ohio affected by HIV regardless of gender, race, age, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, marital status, or income level. Services include home-delivered meals, access to food pantry essentials, monthly congregate lunch programs, and nutritional counseling.

In December 2004, Project OpenHand-Columbus� board of directors� merged their operations with LifeCare Alliance, Central Ohio�s premier Meals on Wheels provider. Each year LifeCare Alliance prepares and delivers more than 1.1 million meals to homebound neighbors in Franklin and Madison counties.

The merger with LifeCare Alliance represents improved efficiencies, a reduction of administrative overhead, and enhanced services.

The partnership also means that LifeCare Alliance prepares nearly 700 meals each week for Project Open Hand-Columbus clients, and Project coordinator Laurie Weltlin can provide nutritional counseling and support.

More importantly, the clients have been pleased to receive milk, bread, and juice with all their meals, as well as access to services that were not available to them before.

Project Open Hand-Columbus has launched several fundraising activities to meet the ongoing client needs. These activities include direct mail appeals, continued participation in the AIDS Walk, and one major community event, �The Dish.� This year, a holiday appeal will be mailed to supporters in early December.

Friends of Project Open Hand-Columbus may support the organization by donating to the food pantry. Non-perishable food items needed are hearty soups and stews, canned tuna and chicken, pasta and pasta sauce, noodles, and macaroni and cheese. Hygiene and household items needed are dish soap, toilet paper, toothpaste and toothbrushes, deodorant, bath soap, paper towels, and razors. The clients not only face nutritional issues but also fall in the low-income to poverty levels and the meals that we provide in many cases is the only one they will receive during the day.

Volunteers are needed. For more information on how to become involved with Project OpenHand-Columbus, contact Laurie Weltlin at 614-2988334.

Project OpenHand-Columbus is located at 1699 West Mound Street, Columbus.�����������

Michelle Jones is the director of communications and marketing for LifeCare Alliance.


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