For Immediate Release
Los Angeles, Calif. (November 12, 2012) – In the lead-up to World AIDS Day (marked annually on December 1), AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA) is organizing a massive, countywide food drive to secure donations of non-perishable food and personal hygiene items for low-income people living with HIV/AIDS who also confront daily hunger. Donations collected at the food drive, which begins November 12, will supplement the food provided to clients who visit APLA’s Vance North Necessities of Life Program (NOLP) food pantries every week.
In partnership with media sponsors NBC4 Southern California and Frontiers in LA, APLA will launch the drive with an event at its North Hollywood NOLP warehouse, the program’s headquarters for collecting and sorting items for distribution. It will culminate on World AIDS Day, December 1, when APLA volunteers will be at drop-off locations throughout L.A. County to collect food donations.
“The APLA food drive is another example of how NBC4 and APLA’s partnership supports the local community living with HIV/AIDS,” said Terri Hernandez Rosales, NBC4’s Vice President of Communications and Community Affairs. “We are delighted to be involved and encourage the community to participate in this worthy cause.”
NOLP is the nation’s largest network of food banks dedicated for people living with HIV/AIDS. APLA’s clients, most of whom live on less than $10,000 per year, are able to bring home four bags of groceries every week at no cost to them. NOLP’s offerings include fresh dairy, frozen meats, fresh vegetables, and an assortment of canned and dry goods, as well as hygiene products and cleaning supplies. The network of nine pantries spread countywide must pack and distribute nearly 3,000 bags of groceries weekly to keep up with demand.
“Since its creation in 1986, NOLP has been intended as a supplementary program,” explains Tonya Hendricks, program manager of NOLP. “That is, we try to supplement what the client can buy on his or her own with an array of nutritious and critical products. But more recently, and sadly, we have often become the only source of food for so many we serve.”
HIV/AIDS disproportionally affects low-income individuals and their families, Hendricks adds, making the APLA Food Drive so critical. APLA must rely on private gifts, food drives, and partnerships with local markets to stock its own shelves – but costs continue to grow as food prices rise and increasing numbers of people who live with HIV lack income for even daily meals.
Hendricks explains that the food will then be sorted and shipped to the agency’s pantries to provide APLA clients with their daily sustenance, allow clients to properly take their medications while avoiding side-effects, and ultimately achieve the best possible state of health.
For a list of items requested for the food drive and a list of drop-off locations, visit apla.org/fooddrive.
AIDS Project Los Angeles, one of the largest non-profit AIDS service organizations in the United States, provides bilingual direct care and treatment services to over 7,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in Los Angeles annually and leadership on HIV/AIDS-related policy and legislation. In 2013, APLA marked its 30th year of operation, and we are a community-based, volunteer-supported organization with local, national and global reach.
APLA Health & Wellness is a Federally Qualified Health Center providing primary medical care, oral healthcare, mental health services, HIV testing, STD screening/treatment and health education and HIV prevention services focusing on low income gay and bisexual men of color and transgender individuals. APLA Health & Wellness serves over 6,000 individuals across Los Angeles County each year.
For more information, visit apla.org.