Since 1986, when it began as a volunteer-run hospice in the back room of a bar owned by Robert "Papa Bear" Edwards, the San Antonio AIDS Foundation has offered a lifeline for those suffering from HIV/AIDS. SAAF operates a residential hospice, offers a hot meal program (42,000 meals annually served in the SAAF House dining room!), administers a case management system which helps coordinate housing, emergency food and medical care assistance, provides HIV testing, and perhaps most importantly, educates San Antonio about HIV/AIDS prevention.
On September 27, SAAF in conjunction with gold sponsor Citibank held its annual Stomp Out AIDS Walk at Woodlawn Park. It was a huge success, raising approximately $70,000 and boasting 850 walkers, up from last years' 375!
"It's so encouraging, especially given the current economy," Executive Director David Ewell told me. "It was our biggest walk ever."
Our fantastic intern Ryan Johnston, who wrote the story "Bathhouse babe in the woods" in this week's Out in San Antonio issue, walked in the event.
"I'd never been to a SAAF event before, and it was really fun," he enthused. "I even saw a couple I knew from work, and people brought their dogs, their kids. David Ewell spoke about prevention, and they had HIV testing for the first time this year. It felt good to do something social to support my community, although AIDS doesn't just affect the gay community, and this event was definitely for everyone."
You may have missed the Walk, but SAAF runs all year. They need support and volunteers now!
You can find photos of the event and a nifty write-up here:
And you can learn more about SAAF's services, volunteer, and make a donation here: