Philly AIDS Thrift awards largest amount of grants ever to service organizations

Philly AIDS Thrift awards grants to service organizations at a ceremony at William Way LGBT Community Center.
Photo credit Antionette Lee/KYW Newsradio
By KYW Newsradio 1060
PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — One of Philadelphia's most popular thrift shops is known for more than secondhand, vintage items. On Thursday night, leaders of Philly AIDS Thrift gave away $300,000 to 26 local agencies fighting on the front lines against HIV and AIDS.

The nonprofit thrift store distributes its proceeds to such organizations annually. 

Philly AIDS Thrift board chair Michael Byrne says this year's figure is the largest amount they've ever donated, and to the most organizations at one time. 

"People have an idea that this is all over with, but the people that are most affected, the people that are most in need of services, are the ones that fall through the cracks. So we're there to help support those services that are so important," Byrne said.

"We have donated $2.5 million since we've opened for services, so you are truly making a difference in your community when you shop or donate."

More than 19,000 people in Philadelphia are living with a positive HIV diagnosis, according to a report from the city. There were more than 400 new diagnoses in 2018 alone. Byrne says the money will help organizations provide the services they offer every day.

"We have two organizations that send HIV-infected and -affected children to camp every year, so we've got Camp Dreamcatcher," Byrne said.

Other organizations awarded at the William Way LGBT Community Center ceremony include The Attic Youth Center, Bebashi Transition to hope, and the Mazzoni Center — where Christiawn Wilson says he plans to use the funds to hire another intern. 

"With the internship, I'll be able to increase testing numbers," he said.