On Sunday, December 2, Heartland Alliance Health celebrated the Annual Holiday Brunch. Thanks to our many generous supporters, we raised $300,000. It was wonderful to see so many long-time friends, as well as new ones come together during this festive time of year to celebrate our work and support our mission. Together we are transforming healthcare for those most vulnerable and improving the well-being of our community, including those living with HIV/AIDS. We also took a moment to celebrate our Food for Life Awardees: the founders of Open Hand Chicago – Lori Cannon, DIFFA Chicago, Matthew Hamilton, IL State, Representative Greg Harris, Billy Holt, Sharyl Holtzman, Jerry Pagorek, and Alderman Tom Tunney – for their commitment to delivering nutrition and dignity to those with HIV/AIDS, and Northern Trust for its continued investment in our vision to provide healthcare, equity, and opportunity for all.
You can check out our short video screened at the event and view photos from the festivities on the Holiday Brunch website. And don’t forget to save the date for next year’s all new date and venue: December 15, 2019 at Palmer House. Thank you to everyone who helped to make this year’s Holiday Brunch such a success! We would especially like to thank our Platinum Sponsor:
The Holiday Brunch also marked the celebration of the 30th anniversary of Vital Bridges. Thirty years ago, a group of passionate, caring individuals banded together to support those with AIDS who were too sick to leave their homes to join others for a holiday meal. These volunteers provided nutritious food along with warm smiles and welcoming conversation when time was of the essence for those living with and dying of AIDS.
It quickly became clear there was a great need among this population for healthy meals all year round, not just at the holidays. This rallying together of friends and family to prepare and deliver meals formalized into the service organization, Open Hand Chicago. As the needs of those living with HIV/AIDS shifted, Open Hand Chicago responded by adding grocery centers and housing supports and rebranding as Vital Bridges. Today, as a program within Heartland Alliance Health, food as medicine continues to be an important service provided to those living with HIV, as well as with other chronic illnesses. In its 30 year of service, Vital Bridges has provided more than 12 million meals and nearly 300,000 nutrition counseling sessions to help individuals with HIV/AIDS stabilize and improve their health.