When the pandemic hit New York in March 2020, low-income individuals living with HIV/AIDS became essentially homebound, placing them at higher risk for food insecurity. To fill this service gap, EAC Network’s Nutrition Education & Food Services program pivoted to provide remote services. Participants were then able to receive food vouchers via the mail and participate in nutrition education videoconference sessions, while in-person services were not possible. Through actions like these, we made a true difference in the lives of at-risk Nassau and Suffolk residents at an incredibly challenging time.
Our Nutrition Education and Food Services Program Provides Vital Services in Nassau and Suffolk
EAC Network’s Nutrition Education and Food Services program provides food insecure individuals in Nassau and Suffolk counties living with HIV/AIDS with education and food services.
In Nassau County, EAC Network provides the only service of its kind to the local HIV/AIDS community. These two programs help safeguard the delicate balance of health for this vulnerable population, many of whom are minorities who live at or below the poverty line.
Before the COVID-19 outbreak, our Nutrition Education and Food Services program operated a free food pantry and home-delivered meal services. Today, many of the same services are delivered contact-free to protect the safety of those in the program.
Supporting and Assisting the Low-Income HIV/AIDS Community
In addition to providing free access to nutritious food, our staff empowers low-income individuals living with HIV/AIDS to learn, practice, and apply the skills needed to achieve and maintain good health.
Our Nutrition Education and Food Services program delivers much-needed support to low-income HIV+ individuals living in Nassau and Suffolk counties through education, skill-building, and increasing food access.
Empowering Individuals to Learn, Practice, and Apply Healthy Skills
To improve safety, our Community Nutrition Educators remotely delivered educational interventions that focused on vital nutrition topics, including:
- Food preparation
- Food shopping on a budget
- Vital health information
Our staff also worked closely with hospitals to link and keep participants in medical care while providing education to reduce the transmission of HIV.
Safeguarding the Health of a High-Risk Community
The immunocompromised individuals who utilize our services are at a higher risk of contracting serious illnesses, like COVID-19. During the pandemic, COVID-19 made it unsafe for unvaccinated individuals to leave home, increasing the risk of food insecurity. Proper nutrition is vital for HIV+ individuals to keep their CD4 count high and HIV viral load low.
What You Can Do to Support Our Mission
According to the New York State Ryan White Survey, as of December 2019, 5,657 Long Islanders were living with HIV/AIDS. These at-risk individuals face daily challenges, including decreased access to crucial nutrition and food services that can make a real difference in their health.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, EAC Network’s Nutrition Education and Food Services program, a part of our Family & Community Services division, delivery of continuous services made a real difference in the lives of some of the most vulnerable residents of Nassau and Suffolk counties.
Make a contribution to EAC Network today to join us in advancing this vital mission.