AIDS charity: Patient search

THE GOOD NEWS: Thanks to safer sex, needle exchanges, and new drug therapies (not to mention death), the incidence of AIDS in King County has dropped by nearly two-thirds since its 1993 peak. The dilemma: What’s a charity dedicated to providing meals, groceries, transportation, and other homey services to homebound AIDS patients to do when those patients’ numbers and needs decline? The answer: See who else is dying, and help them.

That’s the decision recently announced, with some trepidation, by the Chicken Soup Brigade, Seattle’s uniquely cherished and plucky homegrown charity. Chicken Soup started in 1983 as a volunteer effort, serving home meals as its name implies. It incorporated the next year and dedicated itself exclusively to helping AIDS patients and others infected with HIV (whom almost everyone else, from the Reagan administration on down, was neglecting). And it built a paid staff and a $2.5 million annual budget.

Then, in 1993, AIDS cases and deaths began to decline, and the demand for Chicken Soup’s services peaked. Already, Chicken Soup had dropped Care to Dance, its signature annual fund raiser. And, says Chicken Soup’s communications and marketing coordinator Robert Holzmeier, “There are concerns with the [Northwest AIDS Foundation’s] AIDS Walk drawing fewer people. Agencies can stay the same and shrink and go away, or change with the times.”

And so, after long contemplation and with the encouragement of the American Cancer and Multiple Sclerosis Societies, Chicken Soup will now bring fresh meals to people disabled by any terminal disease—as long as their income’s no more than double the “poverty line” (about $7,000 for a single person), and as long as they’re not old enough to get meals free from Meals on Wheels. It will start out serving just 50 such folks, and decide later whether to expand and extend its other services to non-AIDS patients.

“This will give us a diverse funding base,” says Holzmeier. But he concedes that some in the Brigade had reservations: “Some volunteers just want to work with AIDS patients.” They’ve been assured they may continue to do so, and that “we don’t plan to eliminate any existing services.”




Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@seattleweekly.com.

More in News & Comment

This screenshot from Auburn Police Department bodycam footage shows an officer about to fire his weapon and kill dog on May 13, 2022.
Auburn police shoot dog, and owner claims it wasn’t justified

See videos of attack as well as bodycam footage of officer firing at dog.

File photo.
King County Council approves creation of Cannabis Safety Taskforce amid rash of dispensary robberies

The multi-agency task force will cooperate to find ways to improve safety in the cash-only industry.

Screenshot from ORCA website
New ORCA system launches for regional transit across the Puget Sound

Overhaul includes new website, mobile application and digital business account manager.

Judged by XII: A King County Local Dive podcast. The hands shown here belong to Auburn Police Officer Jeffrey Nelson, who has been charged with homicide in the 2019 death of Jesse Sarey.
JUDGED BY XII (Episode 4): Foster mom wants accountability in Auburn cop’s upcoming murder trial

Special podcast series explores Auburn Police Officer Jeffrey Nelson’s role in the death of Jesse Sarey.

Diane Renee Erdmann and Bernard Ross Hansen. Photos courtesy of FBI
FBI arrests Auburn couple after 11-day manhunt

The couple was previously convicted for fraud and skipped sentencing on April 29.

Screenshot from Barnes and Noble website
Cover art of books that KSD Librarian Gavin Downing says have been under fire: “Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts),” by Lev A.C. Rosen, “If I Was Your Girl,” by Meredith Russo, and “All Boys Aren’t Blue,” by George Matthew Johnson.
Kent middle school librarian wins intellectual freedom award

Gavin Downing refused to keep ‘silence in the library’ amid attempted book banning and censorship.

t
Kent elementary school teacher accused of using racist language toward student

River Ridge Elementary instructor placed on administrative leave by Kent School District.

FILE PHOTO: King County Sheriff’s Office deputies.
Dozens of King County Sheriff’s Office employees left jobs instead of getting vaccinated

This added on to the existing number of vacancies in the department.

Joann and Allan Thomas are flanked in court by their attorneys Terrence Kellogg (fourth from the right) and John Henry Browne (far right) on May 10, 2022. Judge Richard Jones is presiding over the case. Sketch by Seattle-based artist Lois Silver
At drainage district corruption trial, it’s a tale of dueling conspiracies

Allan and Joann Thomas are in trial in Seattle on fraud charges.

Most Read