Happy 18 months!

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By: Liberty Ferda

A Q&A with Circles Coach and Open Hand Family Development Coordinator Tammy Thompson, on the recent Circles celebration. Circles  is a nationally known, proven, and innovative way of connecting people across socioeconomic lines in an effort to move people and families out of poverty. Read More

Won’t you be my neighbor? OHM Respects Those Living Near Construction

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By: Liberty Ferda

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When Pittsburgher Fred Rogers famously sang won’t you be my neighbor? to open his children’s television program Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, he referred to “neighbor” as more than just someone who resides in the house next door.

He meant a friend.

As the leaders and volunteers of Open Hand Ministries rehab homes, they seek to be good neighbors too.

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OHM’s Transitional Rental Program: A Personal Story

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By Liberty Ferda

Moving from EL Gardens to transitional rental

Imagine this scenario: You decide you want to own a home someday but can’t imagine how you’ll ever save enough for a down payment. Maybe it’s tough enough to support a family on your income and your biggest monthly expense—as for many people— is rent. You have to pay to live somewhere, of course, but how could you really get ahead in such a situation?

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Thanksgiving Reflections

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Image from: http://happythanksgivingimages.us/

This time last year, we were scurrying to get our annual thanksgiving letter together. I had been working with Open Hand Ministries for about 3 months and was still getting the hang of things. I was struggling to get the address labels printed, the envelopes stamped, and the letters folded in time. This year, things are progressing more smoothly. Conveniently for me, being on schedule has allowed me to take some time to reflect on this past year, and in the holiday spirit, I’ve been thinking a lot about the things that I feel incredibly grateful for. So, I’d like to share my letter of thanks to OHM.

Dear Open Hand Ministries,

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Volunteer at an OHM Saturday Workday!

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Volunteer with us on the 1st Saturday of every month (2nd Saturday when conflicting with a holiday) from 9am to 3pm.  Work will be construction related yet wide ranging – from demolition to drywall.  Contact Jodi at Jsalant@openhandpgh.org to reserve a spot for our next workday on December 3rd! 



Check out a Circles Meeting!

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Interested in seeing what Circles is all about? We would love to have you join us for a Circles meeting!

Contact Jodi at Jsalant@openhandpgh.org to schedule a visit.

Pittsburgh Urban Media Interviews OHM Participant Dom!

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Check out full article with pictures here and below:

PUM Black History Salutes: Dominic Odom, Pittsburgh Caterer who Appreciates putting the SOUL back in Food

DOM: I grew up on the Gulf Coast where fresh fruits and vegetables and seafood was abundant: Things that were commonplace that we took for granted included giant peaches in the summer; fresh melon varieties; satsumas that are usually shipped from California were grown by the local farmers. We had plum trees and pecan trees in our back yard. I had two grandmothers who were fantastic cooks. In retirement, my grandmother moved to Detroit Michigan where she helped her sister (also a great cook) run her restaurant. My great grandmother grew fresh vegetables. My grandfather, an outdoorsman who hunted and fished, regularly supplied us with fresh fish and crabs. He also was an “urban” farmer. He kept a chicken coop in his back yard before it was popular. I lived in New England for 15 years prior to moving to Pittsburgh in 1997.

PUM: Tell us more about your small catering business here in Pittsburgh, what sort of parties do you oversee?

DOM: When I first began catering, it was limited to desserts. I catered for friends. My first official catering job was for a friend who was an active fiber artist. I catered an event that she was hosting for 30 people. It was primarily a cocktail party where I supplied the appetizers and miniature desserts. This is still my favorite type of venue. I have catered luncheons for friends who are faculty members; confirmation parties; holiday parties; and sit-down dinners limited to 20 people. I custom tailor the menus according to the clients’ taste.

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OHM Featured In NextPittsburgh

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Sandra Tolliver of Next Pittsburgh wrote an awesome article about OHM and the work we do. Check it out here and below!

Deshawn Daniels remembers when friends from Open Hand Ministries introduced her to the Circles USA chapter in East Liberty. The group, which meets Tuesday evenings, would provide the support she needed to prepare to buy a home.

“I was like, ‘Do I want to do this, talk with people I don’t know?’ But I didn’t have any excuses. They provided daycare, provided a meal for that night. I went, and I’ve been there ever since.”

Her “allies” in the program, Sarah Heppenstall and Quianna Wasler, talk her through ups and downs and share tips for keeping a household budget and improving her credit score. Daniels set these goals with the aim of getting a mortgage next year when the Open Hand crew expects to finish remodeling a house for her on Rural Street in East Liberty.

“They make you want to do better and get what you want. I’ve got to show these people that I can do this,” said Daniels, 42, a single mother of three who rents a home from Open Hand since leaving East Liberty Gardens. She cannot wait to say, “This is my house.”

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Why Do You Support Open Hand Ministries

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This summer has certainly been an exciting one. We finished up our latest renovation project and welcomed our 12th homeowner into her home. We matched our third cohort of Circle Leaders and Allies into Matched Circles. It has been busy, and full of reflection. We, as a staff, have been thinking a lot about how blessed we are to have the support of so many incredible people. For this month’s blog- we reached out to a variety of constituents to ask them, “Why do you support Open Hand Ministries?”

Kristy S., OHM Board Member:

“I support Open Hand Ministries for many reasons, but one of the most important reasons is because of the opportunities and empowerment that Open Hand provides to individuals in my community who are equally if not more deserving of, but who have frequently not received, the blessings and opportunities that I’ve received in my life. I also love Open Hand’s focus on bringing people together and uniting them with a common purpose – demonstrating with every nail, piece of drywall, gathering and kind word that we all belong to God and that we all belong together.”

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