Tulsa CARES to Claim 2015 Public Health Program Award

Posted on April 22, 2015

Tulsa CARES is honored to announce it is the recipient of the 2015 Oklahoma Public Health Association Public Health Program Award.

20150421_133640The awards were distributed at this year’s Oklahoma Public Health Association Conference in Oklahoma City. Over 400 attendees from the Oklahoma State Department of Health and other public health agencies learned about Tulsa CARES role as a leading provider of nutrition, case management, housing, and mental health services for northeastern Oklahomans living with HIV/AIDS.


Tulsa CARES Nutrition Program Director, Micah Hartwell, and Registered Dietitian, Marianna Wetherill, attended the awards luncheon on Tuesday, April 21, and spoke to attendees about the importance of food as medicine and as prevention for HIV/AIDS.

In addition, Micah and Marianne took second and first place in the poster composition at this year’s Oklahoma Public Health Association Conference. See their winning posters below.

Micah poster

Marianne poster

The Struggle to Keep Clients in Care is Worth the Payoff

Posted on March 18, 2015


Tulsa CARES Executive Director R. Shannon Hall addresses the supporting patrons of the 2015 annual Red Ribbon Gala event held Saturday, March 7th.

In his speech, he cites the struggle our community faces in fighting the spread of HIV.

“Today, HIV/AIDS can still be devastating; there’s no cure. But with the proper treatment, it’s not necessarily an automatic death sentence. There’s the blessing of longer life spans, and with that, the challenges we face have changed since those early years [of the HIV/AIDS epidemic]. Because ignorance still stigmatizes the disease and because the disease strikes the poor with twice the frequency as others, we have to fight a long battle to keep our clients in care. And if we’re successful, together with our clients, the chances of passing the infection can drop by 96 percent. But the struggle, the struggle to keep clients in care, and to lower the risk of further infection, is tough. Shelter and nutrition insecurities, mental health issues, substance abuse problems, and unemployment stand in our way. Tulsa CARES is their bridge to a better life.”

View full speech on YouTube

Construction to Begin Soon on the Charles Faudree Center

Posted on March 9, 2015

The Charles Faudree Center will triple Tulsa CARES capacity.

The Charles Faudree Center will triple Tulsa CARES capacity.


This new facility at 11th and Louisville Avenue to benefit Tulsa CARES promises so much:

Tulsa CARES is breaking ground on the Charles Faudree Center this month. The new center will offer numerous and healthy spaces for HIV+ clients to meet with case managers, therapists and nutrition specialists; community resources for support groups and other interest groups to meet; clean dining and ample food storage areas to help build services while conserving operating costs; and a new look to create a hopeful and optimistic environment for clients.
Tulsa CARES has raised $2.6 million so far and only has a little more to go in order to finish out technology, furniture, fixtures and all the small things to make a new building home for employees, board members, and clients.

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Gracepoint Church as it stands today, the future site of The Charles Faudree Center.

Gracepoint Church as it stands today, the future site of The Charles Faudree Center.

Red Ribbon Gala 2015 to be held on March 7th

Posted on February 18, 2015

For the past 17 years, our patrons have supported Tulsa CARES in record numbers through the Red Ribbon Gala. With your support we have held true to our mission of “delivering social services to people affected by HIV/AIDS” in Northeastern Oklahoma. Thank you!

This year’s Party of the Year will be held on March 7th, 2015 at the Cox Business Center
Tickets are available at redribbongala.org
News and updates available at facebook.com/red.ribbongala

Tulsa World – New facility planned, will be named after Charles Faudree

Posted on December 3, 2014

By JERRY WOFFORD World Scene Writer

Noted interior designer Charles Faudree in his living room in 2003. Faudree, who died in 2013, was a long-time supporter of Tulsa CARES.

Noted interior designer Charles Faudree in his living room in 2003. Faudree, who died in 2013, was a long-time supporter of Tulsa CARES.

By tripling the size of Tulsa CARES, the Charles Faudree Center will greatly improve the facility’s ability to help those in northeast Oklahoma living with HIV/AIDS.

Just what Faudree would have wanted.

Tulsa CARES announced the new center Monday — World AIDS Day — with a groundbreaking set for early 2015.

Faudree was a longtime board member of Tulsa CARES, the organization that provides support to people in northeast Oklahoma living with HIV/AIDS. A renowned interior designer in Tulsa and the area, Faudree died in November 2013.

His sister, Francie Faudree Gillman, said Faudree worked hard to help fight the epidemic since its frightening spread in the 1980s. He would hold home tours and fundraisers on his own to raise money for Tulsa CARES and its predecessors, including Regional AIDS Interfaith Network and Catholic Charities.

“Everything he did was charitable or humanitarian,” Faudree Gillman said. “He would ask every friend, every client for donations.”

The Charles Faudree Center, to be located near 11th Street and Louisville Avenue, will include facilities better equipped to serve the more than 500 people living with HIV or AIDS in the region by offering medical and nutrition services.

The addition will have a large kitchen to provide meals for clients. It will include more space to provide nutritional services, a grocery and free meals for clients.

Work on the new project also was greatly influenced by the former executive director, Sharon Thoele, who along with many more people helped provide a safe place for people living with HIV/AIDS to get the help they needed.

The center is about 90 percent to its goal of $2.5 million to launch construction.

Faudree and his sister had several friends who died from AIDS, which was a big motivation for the pair to help those affected by the epidemic in Oklahoma, Faudree Gillman said.

Faudree started on the board when the Tulsa CARES Red Ribbon Gala fundraiser was in its early years. Its growth is attributed to work by Faudree and others who helped in the early stages of the event.

“Charles, along with P.S. Gordon, was instrumental in Tulsa’s AIDS response through the Hope Candlelight Tour,” said Shannon Hall in a news release. “They later took that same energy and joined the Tulsa CARES board.

“Their leadership along with people like Pat Chernicky brought the Red Ribbon Gala into the forefront and is why it is so successful today. It’s difficult to think of the Gala without thinking of Charles.”

Faudree Gillman and others said Faudree had a special ability to be caring and attentive to one’s needs, which helped Tulsa CARES and the other organizations grow into the compassionate and caring groups they are today.

“Everybody loved him so everybody loved working with him,” she said. “He made you feel like you were his best friend.”

More information is at tulsacares.org.

Jerry Wofford 918-581-8346


World AIDS Day 2014

Posted on December 1, 2014

Monday marks the 26th anniversary of World AIDS Day, a time to remember those who have died from HIV disease and those 34 million people world-wide living with the virus that causes AIDS. Of the 1.1 million Americans with HIV/AIDS, nearly one in six is unaware of his status, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Oklahoma State Department of Health estimates 5,375 Oklahomans were living with the disease in 2013, and 27 percent of these cases…Click here to read the full article
Picture of Tulsa World Article

Countdown to World AIDS Day

Posted on October 29, 2014

The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center College of Public Health in collaboration with Tulsa CARES, Oklahomans for Equality, HOPE, the Anne and Henry Zarrow School of Social Work, OU Sooner Allies, and the OU Sooner Association for Equality (SAFE) present a Free Documentary Screening on World AIDS Day at OU-Tulsa.
Monday, December 1, 2014
11:30 am – 1:00 pm

RSVP for a free lunch (available to the first 50 attendees):
Contact Julia-Leighty (918) 660-3670

Click here to download the deepsouth promotional flyer.

Deep South Promotion

Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS Spotlight

Posted on October 23, 2014

Grantee Spotlight: Tulsa CARES

Original Article Posted in 2008.

For the administrators of the food-based programs at Oklahoma’s comprehensive AIDS services organization Tulsa CARES, just making sure clients are fed isn’t enough. Improving their health and quality of life through solid nutrition is the ultimate goal.

“A recent study found that of all 50 states, Oklahoma was dead last in fruit intake,” says Marianne Wetherill, the organization’s HIV wellness dietitian. “Obviously, a lot of our clients are facing food insecurities, worrying if they’ll have enough to eat at the end of the month. While we’re continuing to address the basic hunger issue, we realize that health issues are important, too.”

“Fighting hunger, feeding health’ has become our comprehensive motto,” she adds. “There are significant health disparities that exist within the population that we serve. This is partly due to our clients not being able to afford fruits, vegetables and other healthy foods due to their limited food budgets.”


To that end, this long-term Broadway Cares grantee has developed partnerships with a local farmers market (above), eliminated junk food from its pantries, offered a monthly nutrition education class for clients and even developed a cookbook.

Titled Positive Eating: a Collection of Recipes Created by Clients, for Clients, the illustrated, full-color, 86-page cookbook (cover shown below) gives clients affordable, easy-to-follow recipes they can make at home. This reinforces nutritional changes Tulsa CARES has made in-house over the past several years, changes which include removing as many foods with little nutritional value as possible from their food pantry and group meals.

Making a Change
“Four years ago, when I first got here, there were Ding Dongs and Twinkies in our food pantry,” says Nutrition Program Director Micah Hartwell (below), who quickly began to transition Tulsa CARES clients to healthier foods.

“I started by replacing the junk food with Triscuits, cereal bars and wheat thins. Most of our clients appreciated the change.”

The big challenge came when Micah replaced whole milk with fat-free. “That was the hardest thing,” he says, adding that trans fats have been removed from the pantry and meals served onsite.

“We really push nutrition because hunger isn’t always the root of the problem. For a lot of clients, it’s limited access to good food choices.”

Freda, an HIV-positive client of Tulsa CARES, has seen the benefits of improving her diet. “My medical problems deal with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, over-weight and diabetes,” she says. “It’s very important to have a balanced, efficient and cost-effective diet and I have benefited greatly from the monthly meeting of the Positive Nutrition classes.”

She explains, “I have learned to know and understand my food choices, to be aware of the ‘wrong’ choices and their consequences and to monitor my intake. I have successfully lost 15 pounds and continue to try to reach my goal. Without this program, I would still be struggling with my weight and failing myself.”

Keeping Pace
Wetherill says Tulsa CARES has experienced a surge in the number of food pantry/farmer’s market clients over the past few years, thanks to the stagnant economy.

“In 2007, we were seeing about a dozen people each month for the farmer’s market. Now we’re seeing 40 to 50!” she says. “In the last calendar year, we served over 100 people through this program.”

With “very limited transportation assistance,” Tulsa CARES serves clients in 23 counties spread over 23,000 square miles.

“So we have a lot of people who can’t afford to come to the food pantry. However, if they live more than 50 miles away, they can participate in our Wal-Mart food program, through which they receive a $40 card to use for food shopping at Wal-Mart, most of which now have a full selection of meats, dairy and fresh produce.”

Wetherill adds that the Tulsa community has been extremely supportive of the program and the organization.

“We are extremely grateful for the generosity shown by the community to this organization.”


Doc sheds light on son’s suicide, family’s civic responsibility

Posted on October 15, 2014

Original Article Posted: Tuesday, October 14, 2014 12:45 pm
BY MICHAEL SMITH World Scene Writer | Tulsa World

“Broken Heart Land,” a free documentary showing about a conservative Oklahoma family that is shattered when their gay teenage son commits suicide, will screen on Thursday night.

The film examines the death of Zack Harrington of Norman, and the evolution of his parents’ beliefs following his suicide. Nancy and Van Harrington will attend the screening and take part in a panel discussion following the film.

“Broken Heart Land” is set to screen at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the auditorium of OSU-Tulsa, 700 N. Greenwood Ave.

A synopsis for the documentary: It looks at his death “after a bitterly controversial town meeting (in Norman) discussing a proposal for Gay and Lesbian History Month. In their search to unravel the mystery behind his death, (his parents) discover a tragic secret, and begin to question their own civic responsibility as they undergo a harrowing transformation from private citizens to public defenders of their son’s legacy.”

The screening is hosted in part by Tulsa CARES, which delivers social services to people affected by HIV/AIDS, along with Oklahomans for Equality, H.O.P.E. and PFLAG.

More information about the screening is available at tulsacares.org and at brokenheartlandmovie.com.

“This film is about LGBT issues and it’s about HIV/AIDS, but ultimately it’s about how fear can drive intolerance and how intolerance destroys lives,” said R. Shannon Hall, Tulsa CARES Executive Director.

“We can’t imagine the pain the Harringtons have felt with their son’s suicide. We can only hope that their experience will give us the energy to keep fighting the ignorance, superstition and fear that caused this stigma.”


Michael Smith 918-581-8479

Community Partnership Screening “Broken Heart Land” on Oct. 16

Posted on October 9, 2014

TULSA- Tulsa CARES, in a community partnership with Oklahomans for Equality, PFLAG-Tulsa Chapter, and Health Outreach Prevention and Education (HOPE), will show the controversial documentary “Broken Heart Land,” on Thursday, Oct. 16 at the OSU-Tulsa Auditorium at 700 N. Greenwood Ave. The screening begins at 6:30 p.m.

“Broken Heart Land,” a film by Jeremy and Randy Stulberg, centers on a conservative military family in Norman, Okla., left to unravel the mystery behind their gay teenage son, Zack Harrington’s, suicide. A week prior, Zack allegedly attended a local city council meeting in support for LGBT History Month in Norman, Okla. Many controversial and incendiary statements were made equating being gay with the spread of diseases such as HIV/AIDS.

“This film is about LGBT issues and it’s about HIV/AIDS, but ultimately it’s about how fear can drive intolerance and how intolerance destroys lives,” said R. Shannon Hall, Tulsa CARES Executive Director. “We can’t imagine the pain the Harrington’s have felt with their son’s suicide. We can only hope that their experience will give us the energy to keep fighting the ignorance, superstition and fear that caused this stigma.”

Zack’s parents, Nancy and Van Harrington, are attending this screening, and will participate in a panel discussion following the documentary.

This is a free event and is open to the public.