With Congressman Mike Quigley in attendance, AIDS Healthcare Foundation ( AHF ) President Michael Weinstein and others held a ribbon-cutting and grand opening for the organization's 20th overall thrift store Feb. 16 at 3311 N. Halsted St., in Chicago's Boystown.
Others who attended included Jonathan Kreuyer, general manager of AHF's Out of the Closet thrift stores; Donna Tempesta, vice president of the northern region and finance for AHF; South Side Help Center Executive Director Vanessa Smith; CALOR Executive Director Omar N. Lopez; and Michael Camacho, MPH, regional director of pharmacy sales in the northern region.
The new spotwhich is approximately 8,000 square feetwas promoted as a multifunctional site that is a retail space, HIV/STI testing site and future AHF pharmacy.
Weinsteinsporting a special Out of the Closet T-shirt adorned with a drawing of the late actress/AIDS activist Elizabeth Taylortold the crowd, "Days like today are a dream come true."
Quigley added, "These are unique times, and extraordinarily difficult times. People ask, 'What can I do?' In the final analysis, what you can do is what you're doing here: take care of each other and love each other."
The congressman also talked about being part of political efforts in fighting HIV/AIDS, and he also mentioned his father, who he said had passed away recently: "He was an orphan from birth, and I never understood why he rescued dogs[but] he knew what orphans felt like. That's what you should do: take care of people that others have forgotten. We're going to go back to D.C. and work [on things] there, but what matters to me most is that a lot of really good people care about our orphans. On behalf of my father, thank you for what you do."
The Chicago Out of the Closet store is open daily Mondays through Sundays at 10 a.m.-7 p.m. It can be reached at 773-435-9584. Learn more about Out of the Closet Thrift Stores at OutOfTheCloset.com, and more about AHF's free HIV/STD testing services nationwide at FreeHIVtest.net .