The AIDS Leadership of the Foothills-area Alliance (ALFA) in Hickory, North Carolina provides prevention services including harm reduction through the Farm, which provides sterile drug use supplies, overdose reversal kits, and other services, including HIV, Hepatitis C, Sexually Transmitted Infections prevention, testing, and linkage to care for a nine-county area. Additional services include condom distribution and COVID/Flu testing. The CCME Foundation provided a $10,000 grant for this program. Located at Steve’s Place, close to downtown Hickory, ALFA holds a bright and inviting facility within the community it serves. Its new outdoor garden space provides comfort and calm for visitors and passersby. 

The purpose of the Farm is to provide judgement-free support and appropriate supplies to citizens who use drugs to reduce the risk of communicable disease spread and overdose deaths. The program primarily serves people within the community with substance use disorders, many of whom also have mental health challenges, are uninsured, low income, or are experiencing homelessness.   

ALFA has been providing health care-related disease prevention services for more than thirty years and is a respected and impactful organization within the community. Since starting the Farm in 2018, there has been a significant increase in individuals served by ALFA. By building trust within the drug user community, ALFA provides public health services that benefit their clients and the community at large, a number between 400-500 people a month. 

Through the Farm program, ALFA has seen a lot of success by linking individuals to Hepatitis C treatment, a life-threatening, but treatable disease. Oftentimes, Farm participants do not have access to treatment due to a lack of insurance or they have been stigmatized and mistreated by healthcare providers. Each successful cure improves the client’s quality of life and prevents further new Hepatitis C infections. 

The FARM also provides other services and supports to assist participants who are seeking medical treatment and receiving care. ALFA assists clients in applying for ACA/Medicaid, distributing transportation vouchers, cell phones, outdoor living supplies, personal hygiene kits, and linkage to the resources that help improve quality of life, which in some cases leads to participants being able to gain employment. One example is a former Farm client that attended cosmetology/barber school and has given back to ALFA and the community by providing free haircuts for clients.  

Lastly, ALFA is one of seven organizations chosen across the country to be a part of a CDC research project that will inform the CDC toolkit to help with overdose prevention. This project will address barriers as to why people do not seek out care and what can be done differently. ALFA’s hope is that this data will be used to assist in how opioid settlement funds will be distributed to address the needs of the communities affected.     

To learn more about ALFA’s work, please visit