For more than 27 of the 30 years since the discovery of the HIV virus, the Poverello Center has been providing vital services to Broward County residents living with HIV/AIDS.
It was in May 1987 that community leaders, lead by Father William Collins, joined together and filed incorporation papers for the Poverello Center. Since that time the Poverello Center has been assisting in maintaining the health and wellbeing of low-income County residents living with HIV/AIDS.
“Each year,” Thomas M. Smith, the agency’s CEO, reports, “Poverello provides food, groceries and wellness services to nearly 2,600 low-income Broward County residents living with HIV/AIDS. Last year alone, food and groceries distributed through our specialty food pantry amounted to more than 1.5 million meals for these individuals. Unfortunately, we are experiencing an increased need for our services,” Mr. Smith continues, “while also facing financial challenges to provide this food.”
On Wednesday, May 28, 2014, Poverello will celebrate three years at its current Dixie Highway location. From 12 noon to 7 pm Poverello will celebrate with an open house and provide tours of the agency. The event will include proclamations from Broward County and the City of Wilton Manors, food vendors, music and a sale at the Poverello’s very popular thrift store. The current facility provides for a more efficient and effective specialty food pantry, and offers 10,000 square feet for the thrift store. Revenue generated from this social enterprise, along with Poverello’s eBay store, provides significant income that offsets the agency’s operating costs and provides funds for the agency’s mission: To provide life-saving food and basic living essentials with the highest degree of understanding, respect and love for individuals living with HIV/AIDS, who are residents of Broward County, and who meet the specified qualifications for services.
Along with the specialty food pantry, Poverello also provides those living with HIV/AIDS a fully equipped gym and alternative health services at Poverello’s Live Well Center, located just one block north of its Dixie Highway location.
“And we do all this in the most cost effective manner,” Mr. Smith concludes. “Poverello employs less than 15 individuals. Each month hundreds of volunteers generously and selflessly give of their time and skills to operate Poverello’s specialty food pantry and our thrift store. Poverello is proud to be of service to those who need us and to offer such great programs to residents of Broward County from our Wilton Manors locations.”
The event on May 28, 2014 is free of charge and open to the public. For more information about the Poverello Center go to www.poverello.org and follow the agency on FaceBook.