AIDS Services of Dallas provides medically supportive housing to up to 225 men, women, and children with HIV/AIDS, many of whom are formerly homeless. According to their website, they also provide transportation, counseling, case management services, and outings for the kids. All of this actually ends up saving taxpayers money, more than $100 million since 1987, according to administrators at Parkland.
As far as food goes, the organization provides lunch using food from the North Texas Food Bank and the Resource Center Dallas Food Pantry, but most of the evening meals come from volunteer groups. One such group is the Fellowship of Freethought Meetup group, made up of humanists, secularists, and nonbelievers, which organizes various fellowship and service events, including maintaining an adopt-a-highway stretch, cleaning up trash at White Rock Lake, and hosting the AIDS Services Supper Club on the fourth Thursday of the month.
This month’s theme was soup and stew, so I made a vegetarian version of the “8-Can Taco Soup” that has enraptured the Internet lately. I made a test batch and used my husband as a guinea pig. He ate two bowls, so I knew it was edible at least.
Six of us showed up tonight and brought five kinds of soup, bread, chips, cheese, sour cream, olives, and drinks. We set out the food, bowls, spoons, and napkins and let the residents have at it. There were only about 10 diners today, but the other volunteers said there are usually around 15, and some residents take food up to their friends. Other residents come down after the volunteers leave, so we left the extras in the fridge.
My soup was definitely not the most popular, but I saw a volunteer get two bowls, so I’m happy with the result. The chips and cheese I brought disappeared pretty quickly.
I enjoyed talking to the other volunteers. They had an intelligent conversation about movies and Islam while we ate. The freethinkers are an interesting group of people and very nice.
These meals are important for the residents, not just because it is often difficult for the ill people to make their own food at times but also because some of them don’t get much human interaction. The residents seemed grateful for the food and had fun chatting with each other.
Besides the Supper Clubs, AIDS Services likes to get help with parties and activities for the residents, painting, landscaping, and celebrating holidays.