San Antonio nonprofit hopes to expand its mental health services for food, service industry employees to other states

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

A local nonprofit has been dedicated to making sure people in the food and beverage industry have access to affordable mental health services and support groups.

SAN ANTONIO – A local nonprofit has been dedicated to making sure people in the food and beverage industry have access to affordable mental health services and support groups.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“We want people to get balance in their life and that looks different for everybody, but addressing mental health concerns is a great step in that direction,” Rivas said.


About the Author:

Tiffany Huertas is known for her in-depth storytelling and her involvement with the community.