Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS distributing assets this Saturday

Lone Star Ride 2010Need a tent? Water? Want a Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS keepsake like a T-shirt or jersey? All of those items, and more, will be distributed free.

Lone Star Ride Board President Jacque Borel sent this message to all former Lone Star Ride participants — riders and crew.

The Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS has reached the end of the road, but there are a number of items stored in the LSRFA storage facility which may be of value to previous riders and crew.

The storage unit, at 4641 Production St., Unit No. 25, will be unlocked from 10 a.m. until noon this Saturday, Feb. 8, so that former participants can pick up whatever supplies and equipment they wish.

The storage unit must be emptied by the end of February, so all materials which remain after this Saturday will be either donated or otherwise disposed of. If there are questions, please contact Jacque Borel, board chair.

Production Street is off Lucas Avenue between Maple Avenue and Harry Hines Boulevard in Oak Lawn.

The beneficiaries have already been to the storage locker and gotten whatever they can use. Items include camping equipment, bottled water, rakes, brooms, bike racks, ice chests, jerseys, shirts and a variety of other memorabilia.

Borel assures us that the tents do not come equipped with the rocks that always seemed to be strategically placed under each and every tent during the ride.

A number of items of historical importance will be donated to the LGBT archives at University of North Texas.

—  David Taffet

Resource Center receives grant from Elton John foundation

Elton John

Elton John

The Elton John AIDS Foundation awarded Resource Center a $38,000 grant for its Latino HIV/AIDS outreach and prevention program, Valor Latino.

The grant will support existing services including a monthly social support group for Latino gay and bisexual men, Spanish language prevention materials and advertising.

Resource Center CEO Cece Cox said she was grateful to the EJAF for its support.

“HIV/AIDS disproportionately impacts the Dallas-area Hispanic community and Valor Latino is actively leading efforts to reduce HIV infections,” she said.

In 1996, the Center established the first HIV prevention program to target Latino gay men in Dallas. Valor Latino is a comprehensive HIV prevention program offering bilingual and culturally appropriate education, outreach, counseling, testing and referral services with a focus on Latino gay and bisexual men in North Texas.

In 2012 and 2013, Valor Latino tested 1,627 Latino gay and bisexual men. Just over 4 percent of them tested positive. More than nine out of 10 of those diagnosed with HIV now receive medical care and services.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, Latinos are the racial/ethnic group most likely to receive late diagnoses.

Since 1992, the Elton John AIDS Foundation has raised and distributed more than $300 million for projects across the globe focusing on HIV prevention, harm reduction, community health and human rights empowerment campaigns, stigma eradication, and compassionate public policy development.

In 2013, EJAF granted $7.3 million.

According to its website, the 21 new and 35 renewal grants support organizations working to address some of the most critical challenges presented by the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States and the Caribbean.

Resource Center has received this grant for Valor Latino each year since 2011. Other Texas organizations received funds from EJAF including Out Youth and Migrant Clinicians Network in Austin, International AIDS Empowerment of El Paso and Houston’s St. Hope Foundation and AIDS Foundation Houston.

—  David Taffet

Resource Center, other agencies announce limited holiday hours

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The Resource Center food pantry received a large donation from the Dallas Museum of Art

Resource Center’s food pantry will be open Dec. 18-Dec. 20  from 9 a.m.–2 p.m. and will be close Dec. 23–Jan. 1.

“All clients are currently shopping for two weeks because of the holiday,” Resource Center spokesman Rafael McDonnell said. “If people wish to donate to the pantry, our biggest area of need is canned protein with pop-top lids — tuna, chicken, chili, Spam, etc.”

The Resource Center itself will be closed Dec. 24-Jan. 1. The last lunch served by the hot meals program will be on Dec. 23.

Legacy Counseling

Legacy Counseling Center will be closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day as well as New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. However, Executive Director Melissa Grove said in case of emergencies, call the hotline number, 214-207-3953. Through the holiday period, the Walk-in Clinic will operate, but Grove asked anyone using it to call ahead.

AIDS Arms

Trinity Clinic will close at 3 p.m. on Dec. 24 and will be closed Christmas Day. The clinic will close at 3 p.m. on Dec. 30 and will be closed Dec. 31 and Jan. 1.

AIDS Interfaith Network

AIDS Interfaith Network will be closed Dec. 25–27 and Jan. 1.

The Daire Center will close on Dec. 24 and because of the agency move will not re-open until the end of January. The exact re-opening date will be announced later.

—  David Taffet

Harold Simmons Foundation donates $600K to Resource Center capital campaign

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An early artist’s rendering of the new center on Cedar Springs and Inwood roads.

The Harold Simmons Foundation donated $600,000 to the Resource Center’s capital campaign, center officials announced Tuesday.

Serena Simmons Connelly, director of philanthropy for the Harold Simmons Foundation, said that this is the only large gift ever made by the Harold Simmons Foundation to an LGBT cause beyond supporting HIV/AIDS.

She added this gift “takes it to a different realm of basic human rights of our gay and lesbian fellow citizens. I feel hopeful about Resource Center being a place for families and the issues of youth and seniors – a place where people move into a healthy life.”

Resource Center CEO Cece Cox said in a statement that “the generous investment from the Harold Simmons Foundation moves us closer to ensuring that LGBT youth have a space free from bullying, that families and seniors are supported, and that persons living with HIV are cared for.”

Resource Center demolished a strip mall on the corner of Cedar Springs and Inwood roads last April for the new building.

The original cost of the building was $12 million, but decreasing the size of the new facility lowered the cost. Cox said $5 million of the $8.7 million goal has been raised and groundbreaking is planned for January 2015.

For more information on the capital campaign, contact Chief Development Officer Cameron Hernholm at 214-540-4421 or chernholm@myresourcecenter.org.

—  Anna Waugh

Federal cuts to food stamps and upcoming holidays put more pressure on food pantry

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FedEx delivered 65 bags of groceries to the Resource Center

FedEx came to the aid of the Resource Center Food Pantry this week with 65 bags of groceries collected at a company food drive.

Resource Center spokesman Rafael McDonnell said more canned goods are coming from the North Texas Food Bank now that the government is reopened.

But despite continued support from the community, Resource Center is bracing for upcoming cuts in food stamp programs while preparing for the holidays.

Thanksgiving is approaching and with it come holiday comes special needs.

Daniel Sanchez, who runs the hot meals program and the food pantry, said he needs 14 turkeys for holiday meals. He wants to make sure clients can take food home for the long weekend. He said there’s plenty of room in the freezers to store the turkeys. He said he hoped a few groups, companies or individuals would each buy a couple of birds for the holiday meal.

In addition, he needs extra volunteers to prepare, set up, cook and serve on Nov. 25–27. anyone interested should call him at 972-786-5685.

McDonnell suggested another way to support the pantry was for a group, company or individual to sponsor a shelf. They’d make sure the pantry was constantly stocked with a particular item by either purchasing it themselves or with a steady cash donation.

Sanchez suggested groups could sponsor a lunch for the meals program anytime. He said a chicken fried steak lunch for about 50 people would cost $200, a taco bar for $150 or a ham casserole for $50. He also suggested sponsoring an ice cream bar for dessert, which he said he can do for $30.

McDonnell said he’s bracing for two upcoming cuts to food funding from the federal government. The 2009 Recovery Act ends Friday, meaning cuts to the Food Stamp program. The average decrease in benefits is $11 per person. The proposed farm bill that’s been stalled in Congress will also cut money for food stamps farther.

He pointed out that each cut puts further pressure on the food pantry. Most food pantry clients receive food stamps.

—  David Taffet

Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas refuses to add trans protections for employees

Logo_FRB_Eleventh_DistrictThe Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas is refusing to add gender identity protections to its nondiscrimination policy, despite repeated attempts over several months from the Resource Center.

Rafael McDonnell, communication and advocacy manager at the center, said he was researching government contracts held by Texas-based businesses and checking to see if those businesses had comprehensive nondiscrimination policies.

He found that the bank offered sexual orientation protection, but not gender identity employment protections. FRB Dallas and its branches in Houston, San Antonio and El Paso had around 1,200 employees in 2011.

McDonnell sent a letter in June to meet with FRB Dallas representatives about adding gender identity and expression protections, to which he received an email declining a meeting. After an email response that went unanswered, McDonnell sent a second letter in August, but received no response. He then sent a follow-up email in September. that has gone unanswered.

“It’s baffling,” McDonnell said about the process. “Other branches of the Federal Reserve Bank offer fully inclusive employment protections. Many of the nation’s largest commercial banks offer full LGBT employment protections. To be dismissed in an email, without responding to other attempts to contact, makes me wonder how truly committed FRB Dallas is to inclusivity.”

FRB Dallas senior Vice President Tyrone Gholson did not respond to requests for comment.

The Federal Reserve is fiscally independent because it receives no government appropriations and remained open during the government shutdown. The Fed funds its activities with the interest earned from loans to banks and investments in government securities and from the revenue received from providing services to financial institutions.

The Fed’s financial goal in providing services is to generate only enough revenue to cover costs. Any excess earnings — money made above the cost of operations — is turned over to the U.S. Treasury.

Despite its leadership’s resistance to the change, FRB of Dallas’ board of directors has many members connected to inclusive companies.

McDonnell encouraged people to email Gholson, as well as call 214-922-6000 to urge him and FRB of Dallas CEO Richard Fisher to add the protections. Fisher is a Democrat who ran against Kay Bailey Hutchison for U.S. Senate in a special election in 1993 and in the regular election in 1994.

Read the two letters below.

—  Anna Waugh

UNT hosts reception for LGBT exhibit

13_Resource_Center_Exhibit_Dallas_670x300The University of North Texas LGBT archives hosts its first event this evening with an opening reception at 5 p.m.

The Dallas Way will present an edition of Outrageous Oral at 7 p.m. at the Willis Library.

An exhibit drawn from the former Phil Johnson Library that was housed at Resource Center and are now archived at UNT will be on display. The collection includes about 100,000 items.

As part of the archiving project, copies of Dallas Voice from issue No. 1 published in 1983 have been transferred to UNT along with other Dallas Voice publications including Q Texas, TXT and Texas Triangle. The school applied for a grant to digitize the entire run.

Already online in searchable PDF format are 388 issues of Dallas Voice from 2004 through 2013.

The speakers for Outrageous Oral are trans activist Nell Gaither, UNT Vice President for Equity and Diversity Gilda Garcia, UNT Regents Professor-Kinesiology, Health Promotion & Recreational Studies Chwee-Lye Chng and The Dallas Way co-founder Bruce Monroe. Chng also served on the board of Resource Center in the 1990s.

Willis Library is at 1506 Highland Ave., Denton. The exhibit will remain on display through January.

—  David Taffet

Food pantry receives sizable donation from Hilton Anatole

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Part of the Anatole’s donation

Resource Center received a sizable donation on Friday from the Hilton Anatole.

After a conference ended on Thursday, the caterer asked hotel staff for a suggestion of where to donate food and other items that weren’t used. Several Anatole staff members including Hal Scott suggested the Resource Center’s food pantry. Scott is the brother of Paul Scott, executive director of AIDS Services of Austin and a former executive director of Resource Center.

Resource Center spokesman Rafael McDonnell said the donation included gallon containers of ketchup and salad dressing that would be used by the hot meals program and other needed items like hand sanitizer and replacement mop buckets.

In all, the donation filled nine pick-up trucks.

McDonnell said that despite the size of the donation, the need continues.

“The government is still closed and the need is still there,” he said.

The food pantry distributes seven tons of food a week. Half of its clients are also housing insecure.

—  David Taffet

Dallas LGBT community continues to respond to food pantry shortage

Food Pantry

Donations provided some variety at the Resource Center food pantry this week, but the stock on shelves remains low.

Throughout the week, LGBT organizations have jumped to the rescue of the Resource Center food pantry, providing some variety, but the stock remains low. The pantry distributes more than seven tons of food a week.

North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tony Vedda sent a letter to more than 300 member businesses. He reminded them of why the pantry came into existence.

“The gay & lesbian community (as it was called at the time) took care of its own; no one else would,” he wrote. “Making sure that people with HIV/AIDS had food to eat was essential to their survival.”

He asked each business to make a $25 donation, which would total $7,500 in donations for food from the chamber.

Anyone who brings five cans to Fashionista GayBingo at S4 this weekend will be entered into a drawing for a variety of prizes including tickets to future GayBingo and GayBingo North.

Stonewall Democrats of Dallas passed a hat at their meeting on Tuesday and sent Resource Center a check for $500. Log Cabin Republicans meets at Acme Social Club, 4900 McKinney at 6:30 tonight and will also be collecting.

Several of the bars are collection points for food including Dallas Eagle, JR.’s Bar & Grill and the Round-Up Saloon.

Dallas Voice is doing its own food drive and is a collection point for canned goods. Anyone who lives or works in the area is welcome to drop off canned food at the office during business hours. Items may be dropped at Dallas Voice, 4145 Travis St., Third Floor off Mon.–Fri. from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

—  David Taffet

Resource Center food pantry giving out Twizzlers ‘because that’s all we’ve got’

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The Food Pantry shelves are usually brimming with a variety of items for clients of Resource Center.

Resource Center put out a call for donations Thursday for its food pantry serving low-income people with HIV/AIDS.

“We have peanut butter, beans, tomato sauce and carrots, and that’s it,” Resource Center spokesman Rafael McDonnell said. “We’re giving away Twizzlers because that’s all we’ve got.”

He was at the Food Pantry on Denton Drive Cutoff across from Inwood Station celebrating the last day of work of pantry manager Micki Pacific, who has been with the Center 10 years.

“I can’t remember it ever looking like that,” McDonnell said.

Partially it’s the time of year, he said. Because it’s Pride week, people aren’t having food drives. Some of the pantry’s stock comes from the North Texas Food Bank.

“But the Food Bank doesn’t have because of the sequester,” he said.

The Center will accept canned goods donations for the pantry at the front desk at 2701 Reagan St. on Friday and Saturday. Officials are also urging people to bring canned goods to the Center’s 30th Anniversary and Open House on Saturday, and can accept donations at the pantry on Denton Drive Cutoff on Monday.

McDonnell said he hopes the community will be as outraged that people don’t have food as they are about the dress code for the parade.

—  David Taffet