Supporting groups that fight HIV/AIDS

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The city’s largest thrift store and nonprofit organization awarded $300,035 among 27 organizations that focus on HIV prevention and care.

Philly AIDS Thrift, which has locations at 710 S. 5th St. and 345 S. 12th St., created an annual grant in 2014 and has raised nearly $3.7 million over the organization’s 16 years in business to support regional organizations on the frontline of the HIV/AIDS crisis.

“It is amazing to all of us that we have surpassed the milestone of giving away over $3.6 million since our inception,” said PAT co-founder/manager Christina Kallas-Saritsoglou. “We could not do it without our generous donors and enthusiastic shoppers. Our staff and volunteers work very hard every day to make sure that we can make the biggest difference possible in the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS across the Delaware Valley.”

Philly AIDS Thrift is a nonprofit that raises money by collecting donated books, household items, fashion, toys, decorations and other useful items and then resells them through its two retail stores. That money turns into grants to help serve the community that is battling the HIV/AIDS crisis.

The William Way LGBT Community Center at 1315 Spruce St. is just one of the 27 grant recipients. It will provide prevention education at several locations including Einstein Health, Mazzoni Center and CHOP. It will also provide semi-monthly support groups facilitated by people of lived experiences, and it will provide monthly health and wellness workshops overseen by outside facilitators discussing topics and practices such as yoga, personal training, voice therapy and diabetes education.

Another recipient, the LGBT Elder Initiative, which is also headquartered at 1315 Spruce St., runs a Thrivers Program Series that supports older adults living with HIV to access resources, peer support and educational content. Thrivers helps participants to reduce isolation, form stronger social support networks, and connect with resources and services to meet their healthcare, financial, psychological, social and emotional needs.

Comite de Apoyo a los Trabajadores Agri­colas of Glassboro, New Jersey created an HIV Prevention Program that assists in providing HIV prevention programs to the farmworker community and low-wage Latino immigrant community in South Jersey.

The next request for grant proposals will take place toward the end of 2022. For more information about grant awards, donations or how to get involved, visit www.phillyaidsthrift.com or call 215-922-3186.

Donations to Philly AIDS Thrift this spring and summer will turn into sales that will help shape the dollar amount given in future grant cycles.

“The staff, volunteers and board at Philly AIDS Thrift could not be more honored to surpass our previous high, in dollars granted in a single RFP and our overall total of $3.6 million granted,” said Philly AIDS Thrift Board President Michael Bryne. “Especially at this moment when these incredible organizations, doing amazing work, are being challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic. We are so grateful.”