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August 29, 2013

8 Years After Hurricane Katrina

Each of us who works in HIV/AIDS services knows that the history of the epidemic is one of cooperation among individuals and organizations committed to this work.

Executive Director Craig Shniderman and a New Orleans
resident who relocated to Washington, DC.
An example is seen in the NO/AIDS Task Force, New Orleans. After their facility, including the kitchen from which meals were prepared for persons living with HIV/AIDS, was destroyed in August 2005 by Hurricane Katrina, NO/AIDS began a long process of restoring operations. Add to this, the storm required many thousands of residents to quickly relocate to other communities, including Washington, DC.

In early September 2005, hundreds of New Orleans evacuees were relocated to the DC Armory on short notice. Food & Friends was among the organizations called on by the city to provide emergency food to those without homes or resources in our area. Temporarily stepping beyond our mission, we were proud to be among Washington organizations that could do the right thing and do so quickly.

NO/AIDS Task Force needed to raise funds for restoration of their facility. At the June 2006 Chef’s Best Dinner & Auction, we raised funds for the NO/AIDS kitchen restoration. That night, thanks to our generous donors, we were proud to present a $20,000 contribution to Noel Twilbeck, NO/AIDS Executive Director. Next month, NO/AIDS will dedicate its new kitchen so as to continue service to residents of their community. It will be a wonderful day! I am looking forward to volunteering in their new kitchen on September 12th and will be posting photos on Facebook and Twitter.

In these and other ways, we joined with sister organizations to assist New Orleans residents and especially those living with HIV/AIDS. No one should ever go at it alone in the face of illness or in the face of catastrophe. Our mission is to serve Greater Washington but our broader commitment is always to the battle against AIDS.

Craig Shniderman has led Food & Friends as the Executive Director since April 1995. He is a native of the Washington area and has lived and worked in Greater Washington for almost his entire career.

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