Pekers donates 6,000 bottles of water to AIN

Frank Holland

Frank Holland and Ron Nelson, owners of Pekers Bar in Oak Lawn, delivered 6,000 bottles of water to AIDS Interfaith Network to help homeless clients of the agency beat the heat, according to a release from AIN. The 200 cases of water will be distributed to AIN clients throughout the summer.

“Our clients don’t worry about electricity bills or air conditioning,” said Travis Gasper, AIN director of development. “They worry about having enough to eat and drink to survive. They will have one less thing to worry about this summer, thanks to the generous folks at Pekers.”

Each year AIN serves 2,000 individuals in North Texas battling HIV/AIDS. Half of them are without stable, permanent housing, leaving them in danger when the mercury rises. Proper hydration is essential to staying on HIV medications, which help prevent the further spread of the disease.

“We remain forever grateful to Pekers for their support,” said AIN Associate Director Edgar Carmona. “Their generosity means those most vulnerable to the heat will be able to stay hydrated and healthy this summer.”

Holland said the donation came from patrons and staff. And why did they help?

“Just because,” Holland said. “It was something that needed to be done.”

Pekers Bar just celebrated its fifth anniversary, and has supported HIV prevention efforts in the community since it opened. In addition to its water donations, Pekers has given more than $100,000 in cash to AIN.

—  David Taffet

BearDance made Dallas Bears president Wayne Davis tear up with their $30k donation on Sunday

Photos via Facebook.

The guys of BearDance outdid themselves this year. Last year, the nonprofit organization, which hosts its Big D party during Texas Bear Round Up, raised more than $21,000 for Dallas Bears’ beneficiaries. Yesterday, they presented the community group a check for an astounding $30,000 from this year’s March event. The following was posted on the BD’s Facebook page.

Thanks to a great collaboration between the Dallas Bears who put on Texas Bear Round Up and BearDance and all of our volunteers, we were able to make a $30,000 donation to the Dallas Bears which will be passed through 100% to their designated beneficiaries this year including Youth First Texas, the Greg Dollgener Memorial Fund, and AIDS Interfaith Network. And thanks to all the amazing guys who came out to the biggest BearDance we’ve ever had this past March!

Mark Trimble, one of the BD founders (pictured above at far right), said the guys are thrilled at the these level of donations, but had no idea their bear party endeavor would grow to this.

—  Rich Lopez

WATCH: “AIN is …” from Saturday’s Bloomin’ Ball

The below video featuring longtime clients of AIDS Interfaith Network talking about what the agency has meant to them — using words like “hope,” “freedom” and “life” — represented one of the more poignant moments during Saturday’s Bloomin’ Ball … Sowing Seeds of Hope at the Hilton Anatole. So we were glad to get a chance to watch the video again after AIN Development Director Travis Gasper sent it out earlier today. (If you haven’t already seen it, you may want to grab some Kleenex before clicking play.)

“After you watch the video, consider making a donation to support clients like LaShanda and Samuel,” Gasper writes. “Just $20 can provide breakfast and lunch for three clients battling HIV/AIDS. Or donate $50, and provide a one-month unlimited bus pass, so clients like Billy can access life-saving medical care. Or support Dorothy and clients like her with a month’s worth of meals, for $125.”

On a side note, happy birthday to AIN Executive Director Steven Pace, who turned 60 the other day. Watch “AIN is …” after the jump.

—  John Wright

Frontrunners announce first Dallas Pride Run

Miami has one. New York has one. So do Chicago and San Francisco. Even St. Louis. But Dallas will get its first LGBT-centered run this year. Community group Dallas Frontrunners have announced their inaugural Dallas Pride Run set for Sept. 16 as part of the festivities for the Pride parade weekend.

“There’s never been a Pride run in Dallas’ history so I’m quite proud of it,” Lin Wang said.

The 5K race will be set early in the morn so as not to interfere with people’s parade plans for later that afternoon, but also to hopefully sidestep the summer heat a bit. While organization is still under way to finalize specifics, the race is set to begin at Reverchon Park and via the Katy Trail toward the the Blackburn bridge and back. Dog owners can get in on the action as well with the Paws Pride Parade 1k walk which will head opposite of the run. Frontrunners has also secured the parking garage across the street for registrants.

Wang feels the run will add a different element to Pride festivities and maybe even attract a broader crowd of athletes to the mix. He’s even sent invitations to Frontrunner groups in other cities to participate.

“We’re expecting 300 to 500 people. By comparison, Los Angeles has had more than 400 participants the last three years,” he added.

While Frontrunners still irons out all the details (such as registration fees, t-shirts and logos) and populates its new website, they are putting out the call for volunteers. Wang says he thinks right now, they could use up to 30 volunteers. They are needed to man water stations, man the food station and work the registration and package pickup stations. Those interested in helping can sign up on the site.

The group has been working closely with AIDS Interfaith Network’s Travis Gasper as the event is set to benefit the organization.

“When FrontRunners approached us earlier this year we were excited for this opportunity. Dallas has two walks and a great cycling event to raise awareness of and funds for AIDS. Other big cities have runs around their pride events, so we thought, why not Dallas? We have an active running community, and look forward to recruiting runners from Dallas and the region for our inaugural Dallas Pride Run,” Gasper said. “Earlier this month we found out HIV infection rates rose in Dallas County for the first time in five years. Funds raised from the Dallas Pride Run will help prevent the spread of HIV in our community. Now is the time to refocus our community on prevention, and get some exercise doing it, which is something we can all be proud of!”

—  Rich Lopez

South Dallas AIDS Walk steps off Saturday despite agency’s loss of nonprofit status

Anthony Chisom AIDS Foundation blames accountant for failing to submit required forms

WALKING FOR AWARENESS | Black AIDS Institute founder Phill Wilson will return to Dallas to lead the second annual South Dallas AIDS Walk.

DAVID TAFFET | Staff Writer

The organizer of this week’s South Dallas AIDS Walk acknowledged this week that his group lost its nonprofit status last year. However, the walk was set to got forward on Saturday, and other participants are satisfied that proper steps have been taken to correct the situation.

The walk, organized by the Anthony Chisom AIDS Foundation, also benefits AIDS Interfaith Network, Abounding Prosperity and The Movement.

The Anthony Chisom AIDS Foundation lost its nonprofit status last year after failing to file IRS form 990 for three years in a row, records show.

“We’ve been working to get it reinstated,” Anthony Chisom said. “Our accountant simply did not submit the information.”

He said the accountant disappeared, and the agency is working with a new CPA to put all of the foundation’s financial information together to submit.

“I assumed he did it,” Chisom said. “We’re working to correct that.”

“We are confident that this will be resolved satisfactorily in a timely manner,” said AIDS Interfaith Network Development Director Travis Gasper.

Meanwhile, preparations for Saturday’s walk, which raises money for South Dallas AIDS agencies, are moving forward.

Walk director Auntjuan Wiley said the last detail he was working this week was securing a stage for the entertainment. After the walk, hip-hop, gospel and spoken-word artists will perform at the South Dallas Cultural Center.

New sponsors this year include Avita, which recently opened a pharmacy at AIDS Arms’ Trinity Clinic in Oak Cliff; and Ritecare, a pharmacy on MLK Jr. Boulevard in South Dallas near Peabody Clinic. Krispy Kreme is another new supporter of the event.

Phill Wilson, founder of the Black AIDS Institute, will attend a private reception on Friday evening and serve as an ambassador for the event. Last year, he led the walk. Also appearing will be Ashley Roberts, host of Channel 33’s DFW Close Up. District 7 Dallas City Councilwoman Carolyn Davis will greet attendees at the opening ceremony.

“This will be the second year AIN participates in the South Dallas AIDS Walk,” Gasper said. “It’s a community-led, community-focused event in a part of Dallas hardest hit by the AIDS epidemic. AIN has long been involved in this community, and we look forward to walking with them on Saturday.”

Kirk Myers, CEO of beneficiary Abounding Prosperity, said that his goal in participating is to raise HIV and AIDS awareness as well as get the word out about his agency.

Abounding Prosperity, currently next to Peabody Clinic, is moving to a new location on MLK Jr. Boulevard. After the move, Myers hopes to serve many more clients.

“Our new building is right on the walk route,” he said. “We’re in this for awareness.”

Registration begins at 8 a.m. at the South Dallas Cultural Center, 3400 Fitzhugh Ave. The walk steps off at 10 a.m. Parking is available at Fair Park at Gate 8 off Fitzhugh Avenue. Registration is $25 per person, $30 with a pet, and free for anyone under 16.

—  David Taffet

South Dallas AIDS Walk holds volunteer orientation

South Dallas AIDS WalkVolunteer orientation for the second annual South Dallas AIDS Walk takes place Wednesday from 6–8 p.m. in the Oak Room at the Center for Community Cooperation, 2900 Live Oak St. The walk is set for March 24.

The 2.1-mile South Dallas AIDS Walk raises HIV/AIDS funding support and awareness in the South Dallas area. Last year’s inaugural event had 300 registered walkers and a total of 500 participants. This year’s goal is 1,000 walkers.

The walk begins at the South Dallas Cultural Center, 3400 S. Fitzhugh Ave. Registration on March 24 begins at 8 a.m. and the walk starts at 10 a.m. Live entertainment and activities take place after the walk.

The beneficiaries of this year’s event are AIDS Interfaith Network, The Anthony Chisom Foundation, The Movement and Abounding Prosperity.

For information email or call event chair Auntjuan Wiley at 214-455-7316. You can also register for the walk online.

—  David Taffet

AIN announces 3 benefits over next 2 weeks

AIDS Interfaith Network announced three events in two weeks to benefit homeless and low-income clients of the agency.

“We really do have opportunities for everyone to support AIN,” writes Travis Gasper, AIN’s director of development. “From trying your hand with lady luck, to simply going out to dinner, you can impact someone’s life and support AIN. Every dollar makes a difference!”

Among the services AIN provides are transportation, adult day care, meals, pastoral services and translation.

The upcoming fundraising events are:

• Chili’s Give Back Day, Thursday, Feb. 23, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m, 3230 Knox St. in Dallas: Enjoy lunch, dinner, take-out or catering from Chili’s, and a portion of all sales go back to AIN. AIN Ambassadors will be at the restaurant all day; just stop by get a flier to present to your server. Let Chili’s do the cooking, and support AIN at the same time. Call 214-801-8006 for catering info.

• Charity Poker Tournament, Saturday, Feb. 25, 3 p.m. at the Brick, 2525 Wycliff Ave.: Feeling lucky? Play Texas Hold ’em Poker in our monthly tournament, in partnership with Pocket Rockets Dallas and the Dallas Bears. You don’t have to be a card shark to try your luck. Free to join, with great raffle prizes and drink specials all afternoon. Click here for more information.

• Making One Meal Matter, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 6–9 p.m. at Bread Winners in Uptown, 3301 McKinney Ave.: Dine out and make a difference! Bread Winners will donate 20 percent of your bill (including beverages!) back to AIN. An easy way to fill up and do good. Call 214-754-4940 for reservations.

—  David Taffet

Got a coat you don’t need anymore? Give it new purpose by donating it to AIN

Fall is finally here, and that means cooler temperatures are here, and even cooler ones are on the way. In fact, the 10-day weather forecast for Dallas shows lows in the 40s, maybe slipping up into the lowest 50s, for the next 10 days. And we all know that much colder weather probably isn’t too far away.

And while the cooler weather is certainly a welcome change from this past summer’s heatwave, for those who don’t have and can’t afford winter clothing, it can be more than just an uncomfortable inconvenience; it can be deadly.

Joleen Ford, Daire Center coordinator for AIDS Interfaith Network, this week sent an email noting that the requests from clients for coats and jackets are already going up. And you can help by donating new or gently used coats and jackets now. Right now, Ford says, AIN is completely out of small- and medium-sized coats, which means that “a client in need would not be able to get basic protection from the elements.”

Ford adds: “Our clients, many of whom are homeless, would greatly appreciate new or gently used men’s and women’s coats. They are also in need of new or gently used men’s jeans (any width, 32/34 length) and new underwear ( M/L). Any razor, toothpaste or deodorant donations would be helpful as well.”

Donations can be dropped off during business hours at the AIN offices — 501 N. Stemmons Frwy, Ste. 200 — in Dallas. If you need directions or have any questions, call Ford at 214-943-4444.

So clean our your closets and put that stuff you aren’t wearing anymore to good use.

—  admin

Funding restored for HIV meals programs

Micki Garrison and Steven Pace

Cuts that alarmed agencies turn out to be paperwork error

DAVID TAFFET | Staff Writer

Two Dallas agencies that provide hot meals for low-income people with HIV — Resource Center Dallas and AIDS Interfaith Network — received notice last week that funding for those programs would be eliminated as of Sept. 1.

But the notice was a mistake. Dallas County Health and Human Services spokeswoman Blanca Cantu said Thursday, Aug. 18, that the mistake should be corrected — and funding restored to the agencies — before the beginning of the state’s new fiscal year.

“DCHHS is not defunding the meals programs,” Cantu said.

She said that the error was due to a paperwork snafu.

“Funds that should have been split between the food bank and the meals program were inadvertently combined and reflected as one total allocation to food bank,” she said. “Recent notifications of funding awards that were sent to service providers reflected the omission of funding for meals.”

AIDS services grants funded by the government go through a complicated process.

What programs will be funded is decided by the regional Ryan White Planning Council. The Dallas council covers Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Henderson, Hunt, Kaufman and Rockwall counties. Tarrant County is in a different region.

Once the regional Ryan White council decides what will be funded, the Dallas County Administrative agency decides who will get money for the which programs and puts out the contracts.

The money comes from more than one funding stream. Part A money is from the federal government and Part B is from the state. Since the contracts were for a Sept. 1 start, which matches the state fiscal year, agencies assumed the funding cut was as a result of budget slashing in the Texas Legislature.

However, Chris Van Deusen, a spokesman for the Texas Department of State Health Services, said, “No changes were made at the state level.”

And federal cuts would not have been made mid-year. The Ryan White budget year begins April 1.

Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Zachary Thompson was surprised to hear about the cuts. After checking with the Ryan White representative and the administrative agency, he confirmed that no cuts will be made to the meals programs.

“A revised allocation spreadsheet that reflects funding for both services is being processed immediately for submission to our contracts management division,” Cantu confirmed. “Revised awards are expected to be processed in time so that services are not impacted.”

The cuts would have had a greater impact on AIDS Interfaith than Resource Center. The $50,000 that AIN receives annually represents about a third of the agency’s budget for its meals program. RCD receives about $30,000, representing a much smaller portion of its meal program budget.

RCD serves lunch during the week. AIN serves breakfast and lunch weekdays and sometimes provides dinner on Saturday evening.

About half of the 200 people that access AIN’s program are among the most vulnerable and most compromised of those with HIV in Dallas. Many are homeless.

Without the meals program, they wouldn’t be able to take their medications.

Despite receiving the email that notified them of the funding cuts just three weeks before they were to take effect, both agencies were committed to continuing their meals programs.

“For the short run, we plan to sustain the program,” AIN Executive Director Steven Pace said before the county discovered the error.

Earlier this month, AIN received a $25,000 grant from the MAC Cosmetics AIDS Fund that would have helped continue the program temporarily.

“$50,000 is a small investment for a big return,” Pace said, adding that one emergency room visit to Parkland Hospital by someone sick from malnutrition could have cost the county more than an annual outlay to feed hundreds of people.

Micki Garrison, nutrition center supervisor for RCD, agreed. She said that without food, people with HIV cannot take their pills.

Several years ago, RCD lost much of its meals program funding from the government and made arrangements with the North Texas Food Bank to buy low-cost pans of food that form the basis of the daily lunches served. RCD supplements that with vegetables, side dishes and desserts.

Garrison worried that NTFB would face cuts in its budget, much of which comes from federal grants.

“If that’s threatened, there’s a big piece we cannot replace,” Garrison said.

Carrie Clark of the NTFB said that at the present time, her agency is not worried about any loss of funding and looked forward to continue working with RCD.

—  John Wright

AIDS Interfaith didn’t win the Toyota, so we’ll just have to go ahead and buy them one

Steven Pace

As we informed you Monday, Dallas’ AIDS Interfaith Network didn’t win a new Toyota in the company’s 100 Cars for Good contest on Sunday. The Toyota went to the Food Bank of Lincoln, Neb., which we’re sure really needs it. We still haven’t seen the final vote totals, so we don’t know how close AIN came, but Executive Director Steven Pace says the agency “did well.” And guess what? Despite coming up short in the contest, AIN still needs a new vehicle to transport its HIV-positive clients — about half of whom are homeless — to and from medical appointments, etc.. And if everyone who voted in Sunday’s contest — and especially the slackers who didn’t — pitches in a few bucks, the agency could probably get one. From Pace:

The results are in, and unfortunately AIN did not come out on top in the Toyota 100 Cars for Good contest. However, thanks to you we did well. We are moved by and grateful for the outpouring of support from people like you, in the Dallas area and beyond.

We are also thankful to Toyota for selecting us as a finalist in this contest. Originally AIN was one of 5,000 organizations that applied; then we became one of 500 finalists; and then AIN was one of five organizations competing Sunday. We were honored to be considered alongside four other very worthy organizations, and extend our congratulations to the Food Bank of Lincoln, who will use their new Toyota to help people living in poverty in southeast Nebraska.

Our 18-hour “get out the vote” effort yesterday gave us the chance to meet so many new friends, and gave us the opportunity to tell them more about the life-saving services AIN provides for people living with HIV/AIDS, especially transportation. And anytime we can do that, it is always a win!

Although we didn’t win the Toyota, we still need to buy a new vehicle to ensure clients get to the medical care, food, and social services they need to survive.
So we’re asking you to donate online today. If everyone who voted yesterday gave $5, $10, $20 (or more if you’re able), we could still purchase the vehicle we need.

Click here to make a secure, tax-deductible donation to AIN.

Thank you again for your support.

With gratitude,
Steven Pace, MSSW
Executive Director

P.S. You can also mail a check to AIN, 501 N. Stemmons Fwy., Ste. 200, Dallas, TX 75207.

—  John Wright