Two Months with Circles at Open Hand Ministries

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On the first Tuesday of March I sat down to a simple dinner with about 50 others at Eastminster Presbyterian Church in East Liberty. It was very like the covered-dish suppers (never “pot luck” in our proper Southern Presbyterian congregation) I loved when I was growing up: all I could eat, with plenty of dessert. And lots of easy conversation, though about half of us in the room knew almost no one there. The welcome was genuine enough and the sense of camaraderie palpable enough that it was hard to tell this was a program aimed at poverty in Pittsburgh’s East End. Yet this was the annual orientation session for a new cohort of leaders and allies in Open Hand Ministries’ Circles program. Read More

Rev. Michael Stanton selected as a Distinguished Alumnus from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary!

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Please join us in sending a big Congratulations to OHM’s Executive Director Rev. Michael Stanton for being selected as a 2017 distinguished alumnus from The Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Michael is being acknowledged in the area of “missions” for his work in the community. He is an awardee alongside 4 other seminary alumnae/i. Congratulations, Michael, on this well-deserved honor!

Learn more about Michael’s award by reading this article from the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary website:
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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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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 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 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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