A Loving Spoonful postpones Dining Out for Life 2020 but HIV–positive clients face challenges during pandemic

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      While a seemingly endless number of events are being cancelled due to COVID-19, an upcoming food fundraising event is also joining the list.

      However, the beneficiary of this event is a local health organization that is facing some unique challenges as they serve a community with compromised immune systems who are at risk for the virus.

      A Loving Spoonful, which delivers free nutritious food and groceries to homebound HIV–positive people. has rescheduled its annual fundraising event Dining Out for Life from April 2 to October 15.

      From the Lower Mainland to Whister, restaurants participating in this event donate a portion of their food sales to A Loving Spoonful.

      "The loss of funding will have an immediate impact," A Loving Spoonful executive director Lisa Martella stated in a news release. "We currently have 20 individuals on a waitlist and urgently need additional funds to feed these vulnerable people."

      Martella added that as the organization works with people with compromised immune systems and high-risk or vulnerable individuals for whom COVID-19 is a serious threat, they have to place priority on community safety.

      A Loving Spoonful stated that the 26th annual event will shift to autumn after the organization’s 30th anniversary.

      As many of A Loving Spoonful’s clients have mobility issues, complex dietary concerns, and illnesses in addition to HIV, many of them face barriers to accessing food.

      However, all of A Loving Spoonful’s meals (which cost $4.33 per person) are delivered by volunteers.

      A Loving Spoonful stated that they have neither masks nor hand sanitizer, and are unable to source those items.

      Social isolation protocols are being implemented to prevent volunteer-to-clients from potential exposure to the virus while disinfection is being increased at their food-packing facility and high-traffic areas.

      Emergency “Non-Perishable 20” 20-meal food provisions are currently being assembled and will be distributed if meals cannot be delivered.

      Although the fundraiser is delayed, A Loving Spoonful (which launched in 1989 during the AIDS crisis) is still accepting donations and volunteers. (For more information, visit their website.)

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook