SEATTLE, April 8, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Lifelong AIDS Alliance (Lifelong), a Seattle-based organization that delivers food, housing, and health services to people with chronic illnesses such as HIV, received news of a $500,000 challenge grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The grant will support capacity expansion of their food program, Chicken Soup Brigade.
"As part of the challenge grant, Lifelong is tasked to raise $1 million more for this expansion," states Randall Russell, Lifelong's CEO. "We are inspired to use the investment to address the basic needs of food, housing, and health for people living chronic illness in our own community."
Meal production and packing will relocate to a new south Seattle facility that includes a commercial manufacturing kitchen, food warehouse, operational center and a distinct commercial community kitchen to serve more chronically ill, low-income individuals. The location affords Lifelong the proximity to serve one of the most diverse zip codes in the country, a community rich in culture but lacking access to nutritious food.
The new facility will triple Chicken Soup Brigade's capacity to produce 450,000 more therapeutic meals and 70,000 more grocery bags within five years. Research shows that specialized diets for individuals with HIV/AIDS and other illnesses such as cancer, kidney disease, and diabetes have the power to prevent illness, aid absorption of medications, and help people recover more fully after hospitalization.
"Food is medicine," says Steve Gibbs, the President of Lifelong's Board of Directors. "People living with chronic illnesses need specialized food to recover and remain healthy. The grant is a key gift to realizing the dream of serving thousands more."
The facility's community kitchen will also create economic development opportunities for SeaTac/Tukwila residents in partnership with Global to Local, a collaborative venture created to improve the health of underserved communities with a focus on foreign-born individuals and families. Lifelong anticipates employment programs, micro-business incubator programs, and expanding indigenous foods crafted for a variety of different cultures.
The location will be operational in July. Lifelong's client facing services will move to a new Client Services Center on Capitol Hill. For more information on how you can play a role in the expansion of the food program, contact Kim Coyne at (206) 957-1623 or email her at KimC@llaa.org.
Lifelong is a community-health organization that opens doors to food, housing, and health for people living with HIV and other illnesses. For 30 years, Lifelong has remained a leader in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Learn more at llaa.org.