North County residents living with or affected by HIV/AIDS now have a place they can stop in to watch a movie, play games, access the Internet, have a meal, and enjoy the companionship of others -- the Metropolitan Community Church of the Palm Beaches.
The Rev. Dr. Lea Brown, pastor of the church, and parishioners came up with idea of the drop-in center. "We don't have a lot of money, but we considered what we do have: space, a food pantry, compassionate people, and a kitchen. It works," said Brown. "We also recognized that there are limited resources available to people living in North County and we felt we could fill that gap."
"The drop-in center is what we hope will be the first of a number of other programs that will fall under our 'Positive Connections' ministry to help stem the tide of AIDS apathy here in North Palm Beach," Brown said.
The program officially launched Nov. 22. The center is open on the second and fourth Tuesdays monthly from noon to 4 p.m. Attendance has grown from eight to 10 people initially to more than 15 in December, Brown said, adding, "We're reaching out to county agencies to let them know we're here. We're also looking into alternatives for transportation."
"The staff and volunteers who support the program have all been trained in the basics around HIV/AIDS and especially the issue of confidentiality," said Rafael Abadia, an HIV activist and congregation member. He also stressed that "although we're a church organization, we're not looking to proselytize."
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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