REDDING, Calif. -

Redding’s little-known HIV food bank needs financial help, but is struggling to balance a public profile and their clients’ privacy.

So they’re slowly coming forward, according to Scott Lewis, President of the Shasta-Trinity-Tehama HIV Food Bank.

“We’re working to make sure the community knows we exist,” Lewis said. “One, because if they know somebody with HIV or AIDS needs help, we’re here. Number two; we are a great source of education for HIV and AIDS. And number three, because of people living with HIV/AIDS. If they have issues, sometimes doctors don’t have all the answers. Talking with other people and communicating with other people that are living with the same infection they are can help them relate.”

The food bank has been running for more than 20 years. Most of those years were spent in a donated space at a local church. Recently, however, the food bank has had to rent space and pay utilities and insurance which runs them around $1,000 a month.

That makes coming up with the monthly overhead a challenging prospect.

The lack of public awareness also poses a problem.

The food bank gives 30 pounds of food a month to 60 to 130 clients who have HIV or AIDS.

Most of those clients don’t want to be known.

“There is a fear of repercussion because if they are living a lifestyle that they’re afraid they’re neighbors aren’t going to appreciate,” Lewis said.

To help the food bank or learn more about the group, contact NorCal Outlook.