Our quarterly roundup of news, information, events, and more
Growing and Changing
Seasons in Los Angeles always seem hard to gauge. It’s hard to see changes when the weather is always so sunny. But change they do, even if subtly. The same is true for APLA Health. We continually update, expand and adapt our services or create new ones to meet the changing needs of the LGBT community and to have the most impact in working to end the AIDS epidemic.
Change is inevitable and change, though often difficult, can be good.
A great example of how we have changed is our Vance North Necessities of Life Program (NOLP), which is highlighted below. What started as a single food pantry 32 years ago is now an expansive program with eight locations across Los Angeles County, offering not just food—handing out more than 110,000 bags of groceries last year—but also nutrition courses, yoga, cooking demonstrations and much more. NOLP also provides something incredibly important for our clients, and it’s something we didn’t plan for when the program was designed: the opportunity for people to get together and connect. All of our NOLP clients are low-income and many feel isolated and stigmatized by their poverty, their HIV disease or their sexual orientation. And one thing that you can count on is that NOLP will continue to change as we expand access to more people across the County and explore ways to help NOLP clients stay connected and engaged in the APLA Health community.
Another huge and positive change is occurring at our APLA Health–Olympic Health Center. Last month, we began construction to quadruple our clinic footprint in the Miracle Mile/Carthay Circle neighborhood. Medical services will be moving to a new 5,675 square foot state-of-the-art facility on the 3rd floor of the current building once construction is complete. APLA Health–Olympic will offer the LGBT community in Los Angeles County access to free and low-cost, quality primary medical and mental healthcare, HIV specialty care and support services, as well as STD and HIV screening and treatment and prevention services—including PrEP and PEP counseling and management.
Mark your calendars for AIDS Walk Los Angeles on October 21, 2018! Once again, we are in downtown Los Angeles in Grand Park. If you haven’t signed up yet, it’s not too late to visit la.aidswalk.net and register or donate today. We rely on generous Angelenos like you to support our critical programs for people living with HIV/AIDS or at high risk—including NOLP, housing support, home health care, HIV testing, STD screening and treatment and much, much more. The funds raised by AIDS Walk Los Angeles allow us to continue innovating and developing new programs like our expanding programs for older adults living with HIV. We will continue to look toward the future, and we rely on supporters like you to guide us.
This fall will see another event: The mid-term elections on November 6. The future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is still in jeopardy and every vote matters. If you haven’t registered to vote, please visit registertovote.ca.gov before October 22. By not voting, you are allowing other people to determine how our country will change in the future.
Please enjoy this latest edition of Optimist and thank you for being a loyal supporter and growing and changing with us.
Getting to know:
Vance North Necessities of Life Program
APLA Health’s Vance North Necessities of Life Program (NOLP) started in 1986 as a food voucher program. Today, 32 years later, NOLP operates as a food pantry for people living with HIV/AIDS and serves eight neighborhoods across Los Angeles County.
On the surface, NOLP provides food to people in need, but there’s actually much more to it than that. Participants in the program can also enroll in nutrition education classes or workshops so they can shop wisely when selecting their meals. Often, because food security is so critical for survival, NOLP will be a client’s first interaction with APLA Health, and their satisfaction with the program leads them to engage with other primary, dental, and behavioral health services we offer. Additionally, some of our clients live in isolation due to their housing status or face abandonment by loved ones because of their HIV status. It isn’t uncommon for clients to linger after they’ve done their shopping and engage with other clients and staff. They feel welcome here, and we want them to! Tonya Hendricks, Program Manager for NOLP, says that once they recognized this, the team even began to put up canopies for shade and keep coffee and pastries in the lobby. We want our clients to always know that they are cared for, and they are welcomed.
Currently, NOLP has seen great expansion across the county, but ongoing challenges continue to shape the future of the program. Jeff Bailey, Director of HIV Access, hopes to see mobile food pantries in the program’s future, as Los Angeles becomes increasingly more congested and transportation less reliable. He would also like for the program to become more accessible by expanding eligibility requirements to a wider range of those with significantly low income. Janelle L’Heureux, NOLP’s Nutritionist, also expressed interest in expanding the emphasis on rehabilitating clients into work or housing to ensure all of their needs are met. It is the team’s hope these changes will allow them to continue growing the program for maximum reach.
Today, in its 32nd year, NOLP has cumulatively provided groceries for thousands of people living with HIV in Los Angeles. When asked about what makes them proud to do their job, every team member has stories of clients missing meals before they found the NOLP or phone calls from clients thanking them for saving their lives.
Tonya recalls a recent conversation she had with a client. “He became very emotional, and he said, ‘I just want to let you guys know that I rely on you so much. You are my only source of food.’ And, you know, we do what we do, and we get into the habit of doing what we do every day. And that conversation with that particular person just reminded me of how vital a program and resource we are to the community.”
The Vance North Necessities of Life Program is always accepting volunteers. If you would like to help provide food for those in need, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our Volunteer page.
Delta Air Lines
Giving back is core to Delta and its culture.
Delta is committed to giving back to communities where its employees live, work and serve by contributing 1 percent of its net income to charitable organizations each year.
Delta, the Delta Air Lines Foundation and its employees contribute thousands of volunteer hours and millions of dollars to a host of causes across the globe. Delta’s commitment to giving is shaped around three pillars of support: Education, Health and Wellness, and Armed Service Members and Veterans.
Like APLA Health, Delta aims to make health education and resources accessible to communities worldwide. Each year, Delta employees from across the globe raise millions of dollars and actively volunteer to promote wellness, combat disease, fight hunger, reduce homelessness and poverty, and find solutions to other health issues.
“Delta participates in AIDS Walks across the nation, and these events are a reminder that much work is still to be done to raise awareness and eliminate barriers to HIV/AIDS prevention and care. Through our partnership with AIDS Walk organizations and the engagement of Delta employees through fundraising and participation, we continue to demonstrate our commitment to improving global health and wellness,” said Cheval Morrison, EQUAL (Delta’s LGBTQ Business Resource Group) Community Engagement Chair.
Promoting health and wellness and caring for the communities they serve is part of who Delta is, and AIDS Walk Los Angeles is an event that directly supports that mission and that Delta employees care deeply about. Each year, AIDS Walk Los Angeles brings together Delta employees, family members and friends to raise funds and awareness for APLA and HIV/AIDS service organizations. For the past three years, the Delta team has been a top fundraiser at AIDS Walk Los Angeles, truly demonstrating their passion for this cause.
In addition to supporting HIV/AIDS initiatives across the country, Delta supports other wellness organizations through corporate and employee financial contributions and employee volunteerism. These organizations include the American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, Children’s Miracle Network, Feeding America Food Banks, Breast Cancer Research Foundation and the American Cancer Society among others.
The upcoming mid-term election on November 6, 2018, is the election of a lifetime.
APLA Health provides services to more than 15,000 people, and we want to know their stories. Have you been receiving services from APLA Health? Are you a new patient or client? Have you or a loved one been affected by HIV? Has a staff member gone above and beyond what you were expecting? We want to know the full story. What are we are doing well? How we can serve you better?