Friends Food Pantry
Many Oklahomans living with or affected by HIV and AIDS are food insecure and routinely forego their health care. They miss medical appointments, run out of or forget to take lifesaving medications, and as a result are less likely to virally suppress their HIV virus becoming a higher risk of transmitting the disease to someone else.
A recent study put out by the Act Now to End AIDS Coalition found that food and nutritional services are a low-cost, high impact intervention. Providing nutrient dense food and supplements to people living with HIV or AIDS drastically decreases average monthly healthcare costs by 28%, and decreases hospital stays and emergency room visits by 63%. In addition, it reduces the barriers that often prevent individuals from taking their medications and becoming virally suppressed – meaning they are no longer able to transmit the virus. Medication adherence often improves from 47% to 70% or greater.
The Friends Food Pantry is open to Oklahomans living with HIV or AIDS and their families who are living far below the poverty level and income standards as well as disabled individuals impacted by HIV or AIDS. The pantry allows our friends to shop for free food and live nutritionally healthy and independent. Our shoppers are pre-qualified and referred by Case Managers, Counseling/Testing/Referral Providers, and medical providers. The Friends Food Pantry serves over 2,000 households each month – most of whom shop on a weekly basis. Thanks to our generous donors, families and children no longer go to bed hungry or worry about food every night.
Homebound and Emergency Meal Program
Other Options recognizes that not all of our clients are capable of shopping on a weekly basis in the food pantry. Those unable to shop, can request home delivery. Each week our volunteers shop on behalf of these clients and deliver meals directly to their homes. We provide this homebound service to an average of 12-15 clients per week which averages to around 100-200 meals per month. Many of these clients are long-term survivors facing new health challenges associated with decades-long treatment and common effects of aging. We work with them to re-visit the pantry as their health improves and connect them with additional resources. Other Options also partners with case managers from Housing for People Living with HIV/AIDS (HOPWA), emergency rooms, and DHS to provide assistance for individuals in need of emergency food assistance. These individuals are able to shop outside of our Friends Food Pantry hours to ensure they do not go to bed hungry.
The Humanitarian Medication Program (HuMP) at Other Options, Inc. (OOI) was created by OOI founder, Cookie Arbuckle. She first identified a need for humanitarian aid in a children’s clinic in a small village in Guatemala. The clinic’s primary need was for HIV medications. The need for HIV medications remains a major issue in war-torn, impoverished and disadvantaged third-world countries, and the HuMP has responded to those global needs. Today, the OOI HuMP has donated a wide variety of medication to more than 30 countries in need. We accept donated medication from hospitals, clinics and individuals all over the U.S. We utilize volunteers to prepare medications and durable medical equipment for shipping. Additionally, we have identified an organization who assists in transporting these medications and supplies to countries in need. OOI HuMP is always in need of donations but does not accept any controlled
The purpose of Other Options, Inc. is to provide food, resources, services, and education to at-risk individuals and families with a focus on those affected by HIV and AIDS.
The primary program at Other Options is the Friends Food Pantry which provides nutrient dense food, nutrition formula, and toiletries to over 1,200 adults and children able to shop monthly. A delivery program for homebound and bedfast individuals/families that provides food baskets and easy to prepare meals is also in place at Other Options.
The Founding Board Members of Other Options working in the health care community in the early 1980s saw the need to educate and inform those who were affected by Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), as well as health professionals and government agencies. That need became the foundation for Other Options. Our charter and non-profit status were completed in 1989 in time to produce the AIDS for HIV/AIDS handbook requested by The Governors Task Force on AIDS. We have been active in the HIV and AIDS community since that time.
Collaborating with other HIV/AIDS Services and Community Based Organizations state-wide, Other Options is committed to providing quality care to the men, women and children living With HIV/AIDS as well as Prevention Education to the affected community.
Social Workers at Other Options network and refer clients to:
- Other HIV/AIDS Organizations as needed
- Health Professionals
- Legal Services
- HMOs, PPOs, Health Clinics
- Mental Health Facilities
- Support Groups
- Food Pantries and Services
- HIV Testing and Counseling
We offer confidential, personal assistance to all People Living With HIV/AIDS, assuring them comprehensive and individual care.