A Loving Spoonful will expand its capacity to serve those living with HIV/AIDS when the organization relocates to a larger space in spring 2014.
“We are moving to a location that is twice as big, which will really enable A Loving Spoonful to expand their services and allow for future growth. It’s pretty exciting,” executive director Lisa Martella says.
The non-profit group, which provides meals to people living with HIV/AIDS, will be moving to a 5,195-square-foot warehouse at 1449 Powell St in East Vancouver March 1.
The move was announced Nov 22 at its annual World AIDS Day luncheon, a charity event that raises more than $50,000 annually for the organization.
A Loving Spoonful receives grants from Vancouver Coastal Health and BC Gaming but relies on private donations and fundraising to meet 77 percent of its operating budget.
While Martella predicts a small budget deficit this year, she says the organization is in “relatively good financial health” because of community commitment.
A Loving Spoonful provides an average of 100,000 meals each year to men, women and children affected by HIV/AIDS in Metro Vancouver.
“Even in 2013, HIV/AIDS affects far too many people in our communities,” says Easter Armas, the group’s founder and current board secretary. “I founded Spoonful back in 1989, after seeing an acquaintance with AIDS eating out of a dumpster. From that moment to now, our mission has always been crystal clear: no one living with HIV/AIDS should live with hunger,” Armas says. “I’m overjoyed that we’re expanding our home and expanding our capacity to serve.”
Despite moving out of downtown, Martella says she is not concerned about access to those in the gay community who use its services, which include nutrition counselling.
“Mainly we home deliver. We’re dealing with folks who are addressing serious mobility issues, and a majority of our work is done by volunteers who drive their own cars and use their own time and gas to go out and deliver meals to people,” she notes.
“It has really helped me out so much,” says Alana Lamalice. “Everything, from the bagged groceries to the frozen dinners, is made with love.”
Lamalice, who was diagnosed with HIV a year and a half ago, says that A Loving Spoonful has been a tremendous support to her and her 14-year-old daughter.
“It is all about the food, the love and that someone cares and that I’m a human being, that I matter,” she adds.
In its 24 years of operation, A Loving Spoonful has served more than two million meals to those in need.