By Amy Bowman, Open Arms volunteer
Tom K. describes his weekly meal delivery from Open Arms as a “godsend.” The delicious meals not only provide an enjoyable eating experience, they provide the healthy dose of protein, fruits and vegetables that are vital to his health.
Tom has been receiving meals through Open Arms since 2008 when he moved to Minneapolis from the East Coast. He has been living with HIV for the past 22 years and says that Open Arms meal service is wonderful because the wide variety of dishes offered are high-quality, delicious and nutritious.
HIV causes inflammation of the body, making rest, hydration and proper nutrition critical. “The nutritionist does a great job of centering meals around healthy foods that have the nutrients I need,” Tom said. His favorite meals include the blackened fish, coconut soup, spicy sweet potato soup, and cold broccoli salad with sliced onions and carrots.
In addition to receiving food from Open Arms, Tom can be found volunteering at the front desk once a week. He greets clients, other volunteers and guests with a smile and serves as a point of contact for anyone who enters the building. “I look forward to my weekly shift because I really connect with the people here,” said Tom. “Everyone is just so genuine and real.”
Being a part of Open Arms as a volunteer gives Tom an opportunity to give back and help others that are affected by illness. “It helps me put a positive spin on things,” he said. That’s why he served as an ambassador at the 2016 Moveable Feast event, where he shared his experience with attendees to provide an understanding of how the organization is helping to improve his life.
“Because I’m receiving services here I feel strongly about helping out at Open Arms. I want to pay it forward,” Tom said. “Plus, I love being here.”