“We cannot all do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”
- Mother Teresa
The dull thud of a canned ham hitting a soft wicker basket was like music to the ears Tuesday night as AIDS Resource Council board members and volunteers filled dozens of food baskets for community members affected by AIDS and HIV.
In what has become an annual tradition, the ARC accepts donations from throughout the community and prepares food baskets for those clients who may not be able to afford a good holiday meal.
The ARC’s mission is to educate the community about HIV/AIDS, provide free testing and serve those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS.
“We have 97 clients in our client file,” said ARC’s Frank Tant. “But we don’t do that many baskets. We prepare baskets for those who are in contact with us and who let us know their place of residence.”
Tant said some of the ARC’s clients have been diagnosed with AIDS but a majority of them are HIV positive. And holiday food baskets go a long way in helping many have a better Christmas than they would normally have otherwise.
“Aside from the extra financial and emotional strain that this disease puts on people, there are other things we consider,” said Tant who heads a support group out of the ARC. “Because of the nature of this illness, many of our clients are not welcomed by their families. Many of them have been outcast and won’t enjoy a family Christmas meal. So we want to make sure that everyone has at least one good meal at Christmastime.”
Volunteers gathered Tuesday at the ARC’s office on West Tenth Street to put together some of the baskets. After some discussion, they formed an assembly line. Some lined the baskets with wrapping paper, giving them a festive look, then they were off down the line to be filled with canned ham or salmon as well as cans vegetables, boxes of pasta, several side items and even fruits and dessert.
Tant said many of the baskets will be picked up at the office by clients, but some will be delivered to those who are unable to leave their homes or who don’t have transportation.
The baskets will be delivered right up until Christmas.
The ARC is still accepting donations of non perishable and canned foods as well as cash or checks.
All donations will be used for the Christmas Food Drive or for the ARC’s programs and services to the Rome-Floyd County community.
Donations can be mailed to, or dropped off at the ARC office which is located at 315 West 10th Street, Rome, Ga., 30165.