Monday, March 19, 2012

Brenda Wolfe with 5 Loaves 2 Fishes Foundation

My blog interviews with Independent Authors over the past three months have focused on characteristics of strong females.

Today’s guest, a strong female in her own right, is Brenda Wolfe, Director of the HIV Services and HIV Clinical Nurse Specialist for Pregnant Women and Children at Mount Sinai Hospital Medical Center in Chicago. She is also Founder, President, and Clinical Consultant at 5 loaves 2 Fishes Foundation.

Bickford-Land Clinic Fundraiser December 2012
Bickford-Land Clinic for Mothers and Children
5 Loaves 2 Fishes Foundation

GAIL: Welcome, Brenda, and thank you for visiting today. Why don't you begin by giving an overview of 5 Loaves and Fishes and Bickford-Land Clinic?

BRENDA: Thank you for inviting me, Gail. I am always eager to share information about both, and this time I didn’t even have to travel far. Bickford-Land Clinic for mothers and children (BLCMC) provides primary and HIV medical care, medications, lab work, nutritional supplements and small business loans to HIV infected women and children. 5 Loaves 2 Fishes Foundation (5L2F) is a U.S. not for profit organization whose sole mission is to fund the Bickford-Land Clinic for mothers and children.

GAIL: An interview that doesn’t require a travel itinerary gives you a nice breather. Where are some of the places you have traveled to promote Bickford-Land Clinic?

BRENDA: My recent global activities include presenting the clinic's care model at the Aerospace Medical Association Annual Scientific meeting in Anchorage, Alaska, and again in Bucharest, Romania. We were invited to present an abstract on World AIDS Day in Beijing, China at the BIT Life Science Conference. I also traveled to South Africa for study of the HIV epidemic.

GAIL: Closer to home, what type of promotional attention have you received this year in Chicago where the clinic is located?

BRENDA: An article was featured in the Chicago's Windy City News on the journey and motivation behind creating Bickford-Land Clinic. The show provided a compelling message of HIV awareness and the need to reduce the level of stigma and discrimination directed at those living with HIV/AIDS. The hour segment was later aired throughout Vietnam and on many U.S. cable channels.

GAIL: Why was the show aired in Vietnam?

BRENDA: In 2006, we successfully established Bickford-Land Clinic for mothers and children in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The not-for-profit HIV clinic provides medical care and social support to Vietnamese children ages birth to 18 years old and to parents or caretakers that are in need of medical attention. Our goal is to maintain a family unit by keeping families together.

In January, 2012, I made my annual trip to Ho Chi Minh City:

The 24-hour travel day to Vietnam is as exhausting as a hot, smoldering Ho Chi Minh City afternoon, but undoubtedly worth it when seeing the children's smiling faces at the clinic door Saturday morning. Small shoes are scattered at the entrance door, with cartoons playing on the clinic's TV, resembling Nickelodeon, but in an unfamiliar language. Staff bustle about between blood draws and dispense the monthly supply of vitamins donated from Costco Warehouse. The week was filled with staff meetings, site visits with the clinic's vendors, family home visits and networking with those who support our mission. It is a great pleasure to report all children are healthy and doing well.

Over the last few years the Vietnamese government has made some funds available for children who have been orphaned by one or both parents. However, stigma and discrimination have made it challenging for families who live far from the city center, such as ours, to access these funds.

Vietnam is in need of private clinics such as BLCMC to provide adequate medical care, decrease mother to child HIV transmission, enhance the children’s quality of life and empower the lives of women. The BLCMC is a first of its kind, a grassroots organization pioneering a holistic care model. Our mission is to sustain the clinic and expand our services.

We are proud to announce that Bickford- Land was a recipient, for the fifth consecutive year, for The Global Grant Initiative. Bickford-Land remains the only recipient for work performed in Asia.

Tet Celebration for the Bickford-Land Kids

Tet, also known as the Vietnamese New Year, is the biggest holiday celebration in Vietnam and most Asian Countries. After a hard day of blood draws, the kids received lunch, a piece of cake, then went off to the park where they enjoyed carnival rides. You may ask why would we draw blood on the same day we hold a celebration for the families? Half of our families come from a great distance of two to three hours away. A family of two, to sometimes four, will ride one motorbike resulting in a five hour round trip excursion. As tough as it seems, the kids don’t seem to mind. The party started and the kids were happy. The nuns from the Catholic Charities joined the outing and handed out traditional Tet envelopes to each family. The red envelope represents a wish for good health, wealth and prosperity in 2012. Thank you to Home of Miracles and Embraces (H.O.M.E) for supporting out Tet outing this year!

Small Business Loans at Bickford
Several small business loans are given out each year in efforts to assist families to be self-supportive. Many of our families earn $5.00 in an 8-10 hour working day to feed and house a family of four. Business loans go a long way to develop independence.

To further inquire about Bickford-Land Clinic for Mothers and Children or 5 Loaves 2 Fishes Foundation, please contact President and Executive Director Brenda Wolfe at

We also invite you to visit our web site at to view a video of the clinic, obtain more information, and find upcoming fundraisers.


  1. What an amazing group. Thank you for sharing. New follower here. I'm trying to get a head start on visiting my fellow "A to Z"ers. I'm really enjoying your blog and I look forward to visiting again.


  2. Hi Sylvia, Thanks for visiting, and for your comments. Brenda has truly dedicated herself to this group.

  3. Hello, Gail, am now following. Nice to meet you.

    Good luck with the fund raising. Hope to read some of your posts during the A-Z Challenge.

  4. What a wonderful ministry. Thanks for sharing!
    Holly Michael

  5. You are welcome, Holly. Brenda is making an outstanding difference in the health field.

    Thank you for visiting.

  6. What a fabulous interview. Thank you both!

  7. Wow! This is an awesome organization. Thanks for leaving the contact info. I would love to help out in some way.

    Terrific, informative interview, Gail.

  8. What an amazing and wonderful group! I hadn't heard of them before. I'm glad they're doing the work they're doing.

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse, co-host of the 2012 #atozchallenge! Twitter: @AprilA2Z

  9. How awesome! Great organization and great interview too. I'm also stopping by getting a head start on visiting bloggers doing the A-Z challenge. I'm also a new follower here :)

  10. Melissa, Shannon, & Martha,
    Thank you for your comments.

    Melissa, I am sure Brenda would love to hear from you and give you even more information!

    Shannon & Martha, I will be visiting your blog sites during the A to Z Challenge!

  11. Hi Gail, first time visitor. Great to meet you! And best wishes for the 5 Loaves 2 Fishes Foundation!


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