There is something very personal about World AIDS Day in New York City, now being commemorated for its 30th year. It is a time to remember our friends, neighbors and family who we sat with, talked with, bathed, fed, and held as they struggled to live through this unforgiving illness. Too many died. Too much loss.
We also remember the stigma and devastation that accompanied the AIDS pandemic. So many people were abandoned, cast out, left on their own. When our founder, Ganga Stone, delivered a meal to Richard, a man dying from AIDS, she knew that she had to do more. With the help of volunteers, Ganga started a network of strangers who ave of their heart and time to nurture others, cooking and delivering meals to people who were simply wasting away.
Although we have expanded our mission beyond HIV/AIDS, for more than 33 years we have kept to our earliest commitment to bring not only meals, but also dignity and love to those who are so sick they cannot shop or cook for themselves.
I started my day speaking with over 100 leadesr and staff members of the M•A•C AIDS Fund, many of whom have volunteered with God’s Love. Our profound partnership has helped us to keep our promise to never turn away anyone who qualifies for our program. It was an honor to thank them on this day for their 25 years of generous philanthropy and enormous volunteerism.
At lunchtime, our staff gathered to remember those we have lost to HIV/AIDS, and to look back at our history of service to the HIV community. With may tears shed and stories told, we reflected on how we have touched the lives of our clients living with HIV and built on those lessons to reach so may others.
This year, over 325,000 of the nutritious meals we cook will be delivered to people affected by HIV. Until the end of AIDS, God’s Love remains committed to always being there for those living with HIV, and for all of our clients, as we believe in the power of food and nutrition to heal.
On World AIDS Day, I hope you will join me in remembering those we have lost, and in celebrating the progress we have made. Today, as one God’s Love community, let’s renew our commitment to our neighbors in need, and look forward with hope to a world without AIDS some time in the near future.