Gift will support the Vivent Health food pantry and increase food security for people living with HIV in St. Louis
ST. LOUIS, Mo. - Vivent Health announced today radical efforts in their food pantry program in response to the COVID-19 pandemic after being notified by a local family foundation that they are the recipient of a $102,000 award.This gift will directly address the hunger needs of Vivent Health patients and clients by funding food and groceries, holiday orders, hygiene products and nutritional supplies.
The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged Vivent Health to temporarily change its service delivery model to protect the health and serve the needs of our patients and clients. While Vivent Health food pantry orders historically have consisted of 5-10 days’ worth of food, each order now contains 30 days’ worth of breakfasts, lunches and dinners to ensure food security while minimizing the number of encounters and mitigating unnecessary risk and exposure. Since COVID-19 began, Vivent Health’s food pantry has also welcomed new clients, experiencing an increase in demand.
“We remain relentless in our efforts to provide the best care to our community and our temporary curbside pick-up and increase in food pantry orders are another example of that commitment,” said Michael J. Gifford, President and Chief Executive Officer for Vivent Health. “Thanks to the generosity of a local family foundation, people living with HIV in St. Louis can continue to access hearty and nutritious food that helps them thrive during the pandemic, while also allowing us to continue in pursuit of our vision of a world without HIV/AIDS.”
Vivent Health and the local family foundation share the belief that no one should face hunger and that patients with HIV should never have to choose between buying food for their family or compromising their medical care. Eighty percent of Vivent Health clients in Missouri live below the federal poverty level. Poverty and food insecurity make it extremely difficult to fight HIV and the comorbidities so often associated with the disease including hypertension, liver disease, diabetes and wasting syndrome – a particularly threatening complication of HIV that is often caused by poor nutrition and causes unintentional and unexplained weight loss. For our patients to thrive, basic needs such as food security must be met.
“Vivent Health is the product of an incredible evolution. Being from St. Louis, we are familiar with Vivent Health’s roots when they began as St. Louis Effort for AIDS (EFA) and we valued the impact they had on our community. But because of the incredible work by EFA and subsequently Vivent Health, there has also been an evolution for people living with HIV. What once was an organization to support people during a diagnosis which offered little hope for positive outcomes has now grown into an incredible facility of experts and whole-health professionals who are changing what it means to live with HIV by offering hope and stability,” said a representative from the local family foundation.“During such uncertain times we recognize that this rich history has prepared Vivent Health for this critical time in our world, and that we as a family must do what we can to invest in Vivent Health. We’re hopeful our grant will inspire others to step up and support all the efforts made at Vivent Health.”
Vivent Health will continue to provide comprehensive care, treatment and prevention services to improve the health and quality of life of people living with HIV/AIDS. At the core of our mission statement is our belief that every person has value and should be treated with respect. We remain agile in meeting the evolving needs of our patients and clients amidst the ongoing HIV, sexually transmitted infection, opioid and COVID-19 epidemics. To find out more about Vivent Health and how you can support people impacted by HIV in the St. Louis community, visit www.viventhealth.org.