Home' South Florida Gay News : SFGN 080515 Contents 20 // 8.5 .2015 // SFGN.com //
soflagaynews // SouthFloridaGayNews
It is an organization considered life saving.
When times are tough and people living
with the HIV virus are down on their luck
it is a place to go for important nutrition.
Poverello’s services make a difference in the
community, said employees, volunteers and
“You can see the difference we make in
people’s lives every day,”
said Mario Rosairo, Facilities
Rosairo and his family
moved to South Florida from
New York decades ago and
he has witnessed, first-hand,
the effects of Poverello on
the community. From thrift
store to food pantry and now
the emergence of wellness
facilities, Poverello is a tool
for people living with HIV/
AIDS to get through difficult
times while also being a fun
outlet for bargain shoppers.
“I got a great set of dishes
there for just $15,” said
Nelson Alt, a Pompano Beach
Alt was finishing his
purchases when approached by SFGN for
an interview. A senior gay man, Alt said
he enjoys thrift store shopping and visits
Poverello weekly. The dishes, are just one of
many bargains, Alt has discovered.
“I got a great vintage stereo receiver for
just forty bucks,” Alt said. The receiver has
greatly improved his home stereo system,
said Alt, a music lover.
Music is sure to fill the Sawgrass Lanes for
Poverello’s silver anniversary bowl-a -thon
as teams compete in a friendly night out.
The Aug. 15 event was sold out three weeks
in advance, said Kevin Clevenger, Events
Poverello was started by
clergyman Father William
F. Collins, who fed HIV
positive individuals at the
hospital out of the back of
his car. Twenty-five years
later, Poverello is a social
enterprise that provides
food and other essentials to
people living with HIV/AIDS.
“It changes their life,”
said Terry Sommerville, a
volunteer at the Poverello
food pantry. “I’ve seen the
smile on their face when
they leave here with their
People come to Poverello
hungry and from all stages in
their battle with HIV/AIDS.
Sommerville fought back
tears as he described some of those in need.
“You can tell whose wasted and who’s
not,” Sommerville said.
Poverello serves more than 2,600 clients
a herculean task for an operation of just
14 full-time staff members. However, it
is volunteers like Sommerville who help
fulfill the organization’s mission. Clevenger
estimates there to be upwards of 150 active
volunteers at Poverello spread out over the
food pantry, thrift store and wellness center.
“The backbone of Poverello is the quality
of its volunteer/client relationships,” Father
Collins declares on the Poverello website.
“Perhaps more than any other illness, HIV/
AIDS challenges human relationships most
deeply. It causes us to evaluate our attitudes
regarding morality, sexuality and how we
judge one another.”
For many newly diagnosed HIV patients,
seeking care is a daunting task. At Poverello,
help is there for those who want it.
“This can be used as a stepping stone,”
said L.J. McHugh, a senior administrative
assistant. “It does not have to be a lifestyle.”
For those employed at Poverello, it is a
job. Workers often drive trucks and deliver
furniture from the thrift shop and pick up
goods to be donated. Poverello’s center in
Wilton Manors encompasses more than
eight thousand square feet. Plans are in the
works, Clevenger said, for a second facility in
“It is fulfilling to run an organization that
actually does something,” Rosairo said. “You
see where the money goes.”
To qualify as a Poverello client, individuals
must be in the Ryan White Part A federal
government program and be classified with
earnings of 15 percent below the federal
poverty guidelines. Government officials
routinely are on site in Wilton Manors to
assess the public’s needs.
Additionally, Poverello offers estate
planning services for tax deductible giving
and has an online eBay affiliate where
unique items are auctioned off daily.
POVERELLO PROVIDING NEEDED SUPPORT
F. Collins, who
fed HIV positive
out of the back
of his car.
pose at the Florida Aids
Walk this year.
Have a little extra time to spare? Poverello
hopes you can come out and play at its
Bowling to Fight Hunger fundraiser. It will be
held on Saturday, August 15. It’s the event’s
Since 1990, the event has grown
exponentially. Back then participants took
up 22 lanes. Now the Bowl-A -Thon is held at
Sawgrass Lanes in Tamarac to accommodate
a bigger crowd bowling across 56 lanes.
Jo Anne McCann’s team “Bad News
Bowlers” hopes to strike out on one of those
lanes. Her team and at least 8 others are
sponsored by Sidelines in Wilton Manors.
“This is my second time being involved
with this fundraiser,” she said. “It is such
a fun event. Part of the fun is the friendly
competition among the teams; now I am pretty
certain that our Bad News Bowlers’ team will
not win bragging rights with the scores, that’s
why we are committed to do our best with the
fundraising part of the challenge,” McCann
Last year Poverello raised $68,000. This
year they hope to raise at least $75,000.
The money raised will be used to provide
Poverello’s pantry the ability to provide
lifesaving services to its clients.
POVERELLO HOPES TO STRIKE IT BIG AT
THIS YEAR’S BOWL-A-THON
For more information, visit
www.poverello.org or call 954-561-3663.
Links Archive SFGN 072915 SFGN 081215 Navigation Previous Page Next Page