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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Stretching open arms to South Africa

Minnesota congregations and membersextend the reach of an HIV/AIDS ministry

About 300,000 people live in Guguletu Township, Cape Town, South Africa—80,000 to 90,000 of them are dying of HIV/AIDS. Since South Africa’s food and medicine run in alarmingly short supply, “the majority of those infected are literally dying of AIDS, and they don’t have any food to eat,” said Kevin Winge, executive director of Open Arms of Minnesota.

Open Arms of Minnesota has quite a
Open Arms of Minnesota has quite a reach, including food to this unidentified parcel recipient in South Africa. Twenty years ago Open Arms organized to feed Minnesotans with HIV/AIDS. Now meals are delivered to others—those living with multiple sclerosis, for instance—and food is shipped to South Africa.
Open Arms, a 20-year-old Minneapolis-based nonprofit, began by preparing and delivering meals for local people living with HIV/AIDS. Today it embraces 41 zip codes in the Minneapolis area and has added meals for women undergoing treatment for breast cancer and people living with multiple sclerosis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

With the support of numerous donors—including the ELCA, its congregations and members—Open Arms now stretches across the globe.


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