(Washington, DC) On Friday, November 16th, Mayor Vincent C. Gray and Serve DC – The Mayor’s Office on Volunteerism will kick off the Second Annual DC Government World AIDS Day Food Drive with a celebration. The event will take place in the Old Council Chambers at One Judiciary Square, 441 4th Street, NW, from 12 pm to 2 pm.
In partnership with the DC Office on Women's Policy and Initiatives and the Mayor’s Office on GLBT Affairs, Serve DC’s annual DC Government World AIDS Day Food Drive begins on November 16 and culminates on World AIDS Day, December 1. The event provides an opportunity for District government agencies and employees to support neighbors in need and raise awareness about HIV/AIDS in our community.
“World AIDS Day is an important time to remember that the District has one of the highest HIV infection rates in the country, and that we also have some of the country’s largest charities providing services to people living with HIV/AIDS and other life-challenging illnesses,” Mayor Gray said. “I encourage all of our employees to give generously to support their fellow District residents.”
“Given the scope of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in our community, it is especially meaningful for Serve DC to commemorate World AIDS Day by engaging our colleagues in service,” said Serve DC Executive Director Patricia Evans. “The Mayor has made tackling the spread of HIV/AIDS a key priority, and we relish any opportunity to join him in that fight.”
Donations will benefit Food & Friends, a District-based non-profit organization that provides free, home-delivered meals, groceries and nutrition counseling to people in the metropolitan area living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other life-challenging illnesses. The food drive’s goal is to establish donation drop-off sites at each DC government office building and to collect 3,000 lbs. of donations – enough to serve approximately 600 meals to 150 people.
“As we approach World AIDS Day, we are reminded that collaboration is essential in the fight against HIV/AIDS,” said Food & Friends Executive Director Craig Shniderman. “We are extremely grateful for our partnership with Mayor Gray, the District of Columbia, and Serve DC. Together, we are building a community of support that saves and extends thousands of lives each year.”
The November 16th kick-off celebration will feature brief remarks, HIV/AIDS-related volunteer opportunities and representatives from service organizations, and HIV/AIDS testing and resources. District employees will also be able to register their agency as a donation site, pick up outreach materials and collection boxes for the food drive, and drop off donations.
Established in 1988 and held each year on December 1st, World AIDS Day is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV/AIDS, show their support for people living with HIV/AIDS and honor and celebrate people who have died.