Congratulations to the San Antonio AIDS Foundation, which last week received one of a handful of federal Victory Against Hunger Awards, given to service agencies that provide food to people living with life-threatening illnesses. The award includes a $1,000 grant, too, but please don’t let the bunting and confetti obscure the ongoing need. SAAF’s hot-meals program, which offers three free, dietician-approved squares a day to anyone in the community who is HIV-positive, served 44,000 hot meals to more than 400 clients last year, many who are unemployed or living on low fixed incomes. Changes made by Congress in 2006 shifted funding from support services such as food to medicine, leaving the vital program on uncertain footing.
Although SAAF has managed to reduce its food costs in part by working with the San Antonio Food Bank, and program salaries will be covered for the coming year by a Bexar County Commissioners grant, it takes $200,000 annually to keep the kitchen open. Homeless members of the community are also served by the program as long as they register with SAAF. To learn more about SAAF’s hot-meals initiative, or to make a donation, call (210) 225-4715, or visit Txsaaf.org.