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  • Writer's pictureColumbus Barrel Co.

Open Arms and Open Hearts

We have lots of business partnerships with distilleries, clothing companies, home goods stores, and hardware stores, but by far our best business decision was hiring the individuals at Open Arms Health Services to help us out around the shop. Each person who comes here has the best “can-do” attitude and smiling face. So, what exactly is Open Arms and how can they help your place of business too?

Open Arms Health Systems is an organization that provides opportunities for individuals with disabilities to learn a vocation while earning a living. The workers are paid competitive wages, benefits, and have opportunities for advancement, while empowering individuals with developmental disabilities to live dignified, successful, independent lives. There are many vocational training areas, including culinary arts, retail service, custodial, landscaping, mechanics, media, and construction.

Here at CBC, we employ a custodial team to tackle the mess we make on a daily basis, and man, is it a mess! Woodworking means a whole lot of sawdust, and when you add in the char from bourbon barrels, the floors begin to look like the inside of a chimney. From the first day Open Arms workers started here, they have never once flinched at the state of our warehouse and office showroom! They divide and conquer - some grab brooms to get the majority of the dust out of here, while others use rags to get the finer dust off our products. We even had one individual take apart our air conditioner unit and hand clean each piece to ensure we had the cleanest air coming in our office. We were so impressed with the custodial team, we asked the landscaping crew to help us manage leaves and debris outside our office when Mother Nature decided to wreck havoc.

The best part of having Open Arms at CBC is definitely getting to know the hard-working individuals. We eat together when it’s time to ring the lunch bell, and just like family Sunday dinners, we break bread together (more like order pizza) and talk and laugh over life experiences. This organization is so much more than “just a cleaning crew” or “just a landscaping crew” - they are empowering individuals who are often overlooked for jobs and who may be taken advantage of by employers. The way we see it, we are all human beings first and regardless of circumstances handed to us in life, everyone deserves to be supported in living their best life possible. Next time you find yourself saying your business sure could use a couple more people to help with whatever you need, think of Open Arms Health Systems.

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