The organization will have their World AIDS Day commemoration service on Saturday while they sponsor a display of 10 panels from the AIDS Memorial Quilt at the Rome-Floyd County Library and work to fulfill their annual program that provides Christmas food baskets to clients.
“Like every nonprofit in the area, things are very hectic at this time of the year,” said Frank Tant, an AIDS Resource Council board member. “But, it is also a very important time for us.”
The quilt panels, which will be on display through Dec. 7, feature memorials to people who have died of HIV/AIDS.
Four of the panels at the library memorialize local people who have been a victim of the virus, and one is in memory of Ryan White, the teenager who became a national figure for HIV/AIDS in the late 1980s.
“It’s a very moving tribute to the people who have been lost to the disease,” said Tant, himself a 24-year HIV survivor.
The theme of Saturday’s event will be “It’s a Human Thing!” and bring attention to the fact that HIV does not discriminate between race, age or sexual orientation.
The AIDS Resource Council says that 30 percent of those infected do not know that they are infected because they don’t consider themselves at risk, when the only real risk factor is that you must be human to contract HIV.
The event will start at 2 p.m. at Second Avenue United Methodist Church, 801 E. Second Ave., and will feature the church’s pastor, The Rev. Beth Sanders, as the keynote speaker.
The public is invited to attend and a reception will follow.
Along with all of this, the ARC also provides baskets filled with nonperishable food items to approximately 40 clients in their 10-county health district.
The biggest reason they do this is to give those with HIV who are not welcomed in their family’s home for the holidays a reason to still look forward to Christmas.
“It’s just something to let them know that they haven’t been forgotten,” Tant said. “It makes them feel like they can have a good Christmas even if they can’t be with their family.”
Tant said they have people donate money for the program or put together entire baskets themselves that include the makings of a full meal — a canned meat item, vegetables and something sweet.
They will begin assembling the baskets on Dec. 11 and usually have them available to be picked up or delivered starting Dec. 12.
Tant said he has clients that he takes the baskets to personally.
“It’s very heartwarming for someone who is HIV positive to walk into the home of another person who is HIV positive and hand them something that will bring them joy,” he said.
For more information about how to help with the Christmas basket program, contact the AIDS Resource Council at 706-290-9098 or email email@example.com.