One of the more noble organizations in the area, the Albany Damien Center, experienced a devastating fire last week, destroying the building which had previously provided life-saving services for a number of individuals living with HIV/AIDS. These are just a few of the things that the Albany Damien Center has done in the last year alone:
• Provided over 22,000 meals combined with nutritional health education.
• Facilitated support and access to care for 421 people and an additional 1,000 family members with over 6,700 visits to our drop-in living room setting open 5 days a week.
• Helped 172 pets and 104 pet owners with in-home care, 12,800 pounds of pet food, and veterinarian assistance from PAWS.
• Gave over 1,800 household items from the Treasure Chest to members in need.
• Provided prevention education sessions to over 1,203 people and distributed 17,000 condoms.
• Began helping people return to work and school while ensuring they are stably housed through the launch of our new Foundations for Living Program.
Without a base of operation and without immediate assistance, many of these programs and services will be severely compromised. It’s difficult enough to maintain an organization like this with the dwindling support of the government’s financial aid – something like this fire could be enough to effectively end the good work they are doing. Luckily, the support of the Albany community, and the center’s own volunteers and workers, particularly the unfailing spirit of Executive Director Perry Junjulas, are making sure that this admirable work continues.
There are a number of ways to help this organization get back on its feet. The easiest and most direct way is to donate through their 2013 Annual Fund, now more important than ever, at this link: http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/perry-junjulas/albanydamiencenter2013annualfund
On September 8, 2013 at 5 PM there is a benefit drag show at Rocks at 77 Central Ave. hosted by two of the best in the business, Duchess Ivanna and Penny Larceny. A whole gaggle of illusionists are showing up in support of this event, and it looks to be a fantastic show.
On October 11, 2013, A Fashion Show and Art Auction will take place at 11 North Pearl Street in Downtown Albany to benefit the Damien Center, featuring fashion, food, and drinks, complete with a red carpet.
On October 12, 2013, Valentine’s will be putting on a benefit show for the Damien Center featuring some great bands, with doors opening at 6 PM.
If you can contribute anything to help the Albany Damien Center at this time, it would be greatly appreciated, and badly needed. As much as I sometimes slag off Albany, I know that our community always comes together to help each other out – especially for a place that has so selflessly done so much for other people.