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January 09, 2013

It's National Pizza Week!

Remember when Congress (almost) declared pizza a vegetable? Okay, okay, we know that's not really what happened, but in light of the controversy and the fact that it's National Pizza Week, we got to thinking about food, nutrition, and what all that has to do with The Damien Center.

Meeting basic nutritional needs is critical for our HIV+ clients, but with the high cost of medication, many people living with HIV can’t afford nutritious food. Having a balanced diet with essential macronutrients, calories, and micronutrients can greatly impact the body’s ability to fight diseaseespecially a relentless disease like HIV. Pile on top of that the difficulties of finding transportation, stable housing, a job, and so forth, and you can see why nutrition is an important piece of the puzzle for people managing HIV in their lives.

One part of the solution is our on-site food pantry, which is a licensed grocery. Coupled with nutritional support, our food pantry helps people living with HIV meet their unique needs. We strive to keep our selection diverse and nutritious, so in addition to non-perishables, we also supply fresh vegetables and meats to maximize our healthy eating options.

Hygiene is another piece of the puzzle. Good hygiene minimizes the risk and spread of disease and infection; because HIV compromizes the immune system, stopping secondary infections is an important part of what we do. To support good hygiene, our pantry also provides items like soap and laundry detergent that are not covered by food stamps.

So while we don't serve up pizza to food pantry patrons, we do try our best to support healthy eating and nutritious choices for our clients. Interested in supporting the food pantry? Check out some of our current needs and consider raiding your cabinets for a donation.