Food Chain: Feeding the fight against HIV
An alternative support network for people living with HIV
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It started on Christmas Day in 1988, when members of the Metropolitan Community Church in central London fully embraced the spirit of the season and delivered a Christmas meal to people in London living with HIV. But that day was just the beginning. There was a need for ongoing support, to ensure that those living with the virus had access to the proper food and nutrition they needed to stay healthy and live independent lives. By May the following year, The Food Chain was up and running.
Since then, The Food Chain has helped thousands living in London, of all ages, races and sexual orientations. And still today it delivers the raw materials people suffering with HIV need to crate healthy meals, while also providing cooking and nutrition classes to help educate those they support on a more long-term basis.
But The Food Chain is a completely independent body. It seeks no funding from the government, and instead provides its services thanks to the hard work and tireless efforts of its members, vital donations from the community and other charitable foundations, fundraising events and corporate sponsors.
One of the people The Food Chain has helped, Ben, was first diagnosed with HIV after he collapsed and spent some time in hospital. When he was sent back home, he found life had become much more difficult. He lost a lot of weight, had problems walking and couldn't lift things. He needed support, and that's where The Food Chain came in.
"The Food Chain services completely changed, me," says Ben. "Before, I was thin and very weak. Now I am strong and can walk on my own again. I feel I can do anything."
And it's for people like Ben why The Food Chain needs your help. For more information, or to find out how you can get involved with Food Chain, visit www.foodchain.org.uk. Alternatively, visit www.facebook.com/thefoodchain.org, or keep up-to-date with the latest news on Twitter by following @TheFoodChain.
Words: Ken Law