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September 27, 2022

Founder of Saint City Culinary Foundation says more than 400 people are using their mental health services and programs

SAN ANTONIO – A local non-profit organization has been dedicated to ensuring that people in the food and beverage industry have access to affordable mental health services and support groups.

“For a lot of people who work in the food and beverage industry, they don’t have health insurance,” said Joel Rivas, founder of the Saint City Culinary Foundation.

Rivas has made it his mission to connect people in the industry with free therapists and support groups.

He is the founder of the Saint City Culinary Foundation, launched in 2017, and through their wellness program called “Heard”, they offer different services.

“We have access to therapy and are working with a therapy group in Austin, Texas called Capital Area Counseling, and we partner with them so that people who work in the food and beverage industry have affordable, practical resources they can afford.” said Rivas.

Rivas said they also offer an affordable telehealth program and different educational health classes.

During the pandemic, the nonprofit also hosted a COVID-19 pop-up vaccine clinic for service sector workers.

Rivas says more than 400 people are using these services, not just in San Antonio but across Texas, and he plans to expand to other states.

“The next place we plan to expand will be New Orleans. We are working with another nonprofit there, partnering with them to focus on access to mental health for people of color,” said Rivas.

Rivas was recently recognized for his mental health wellness program from a leading food and entertainment magazine.

He wants people in the service industry to know that they are not alone.

“We want people to achieve balance in their lives and it feels different for everyone, but addressing mental health concerns is a big step in that direction,” said Rivas.

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