You could say that both Lifelong and Evergreen Wellness Advocates all started with a caring community.
Lifelong was born from a simple soup can, passed around Volunteer Park in 1983. The $42 that those advocates collected that evening was to help them feed, house and stand by those fighting AIDS—when no one else would. Evergreen Wellness Advocates also began small. A group of close friends gathered at a bar in 1985, discussing ways to help another friend dying from the disease. And help they did—with food, with chores, with money, and most importantly, with compassion.
These histories are inextricably linked, and more importantly they’re both grounded in the support of the HIV/AIDS community. And in January 2015, when our two organizations came together, a powerful force of change was created for the community.
Today, various medications has transformed treatment for HIV and AIDS, and now we’re focused on helping clients maintain their health and enjoy long and fulfilling lives. With the wealth of knowledge that we’ve gathered from our pasts, we’re now also able to care for even more vulnerable populations—those facing other serious illnesses (cancers, kidney disease, diabetes) and poverty. We help every client connect with health insurance, we ensure they have a safe place to live, and through our food program, Chicken Soup Brigade, we help put nutritious food on their table. We educate, counsel, create community awareness, and show compassion. Because, after all, that’s what everyone deserves.
But no matter how we evolve as an organization, we will always remember where we came from. Our future is forever tied to the HIV/AIDS community, and—as long as this disease is here, so are we.