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Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021

Philadelphia Center Brings Back Fundraiser

Auction Against AIDS supports agency’s programs

For 31 years, the Philadelphia Center has been presenting its annual Auction Against AIDS. Technically, this should be the 32nd year, but the Covid outbreak canceled last year’s iteration. But this year, it’s back with a vengeance.

Dubbed “A Not So Silent Nashville Night,” the gala is scheduled for Dec. 11 at Sam’s Town Hotel and Casino. Running from 6 to 10 p.m., it will present some familiar features and some unique twists for attendees.

The silent auction will be there, as usual, as well as the “Rhinestone Raffle” and the “Friends in Low Places Barrel of Booze” raffle. As the name suggests, the Rhinestone Raffle is for jewelry, while the Low Places is a popular raffle for a barrel of wine, liquor and beer.

Tickets are $60 and are available online at www.pcaustion.org or at the door. Early birds who buy tickets before Nov. 30 can get them for just $30.

Auction Chairman and Philadelphia Center Board President Dr. Lonnie McCray said in regrouping after the canceled event last year — the theme of which was slated to be Nashville Glam — the center decided to add a little downhome flair to the Christmas season in addition to bringing back the popular aspects of the auction.

This year, they’ve added some new things to the mix, like text bidding. McCray urged attendees to remember to bring their phones to the event. “We will have iPad and laptop stations, as well,” he said. “If they bring their phones and they register, they can text to bid.” Another way to bid is entirely online. “If you can’t attend, you can still go in and bid on items. You can register online. When the auction goes live, it will be online,” he said.

During the silent auction, McCray said, “We’ll have items from local businesses. We will especially highlight local artists who donate to the auction. We’ll have those unique art pieces. Many times, the artist will reflect what the theme is.”

McCray added that several attendees said they were planning to dress up as Dolly Parton, so organizers came up with a new contest for the evening, “Where’s Dolly?” “That will be interesting,” he noted. “The Shreveport-Bossier Steppers are going to be there and said that they will not only be line dancing, but they will teach people who want to learn to line dance.”

The Ladies of Central Station are returning with their popular drag show. This year, they will be presenting different artists, like Shania Twain, Gretchen Wilson and Carrie Underwood.

McCray said the Auction Against AIDS is the Philadelphia Center’s biggest community event. He said it’s an opportunity to get the mission of the Center out to the public and explain the work they do throughout the year. And it provides the funds necessary to carry on that mission.

“The important thing is to raise those funds to support our programs. The way that our health-care system is set up, prevention is actually not at the forefront. You get sick, and then they want to take care of you. We still receive very little money, from the state, federal funds, to really get out to discuss prevention. That’s where a lot of our funds go these days from the auction to prevention.”

He explained that the idea is to get out ahead of disease before it affects the community.

The Philadelphia Center was established in the spring of 1990 by concerned citizens in response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic as it spread into the Shreveport area. Their client services connect people with HIV/ AIDS to support services. They also operate Mercy Center, a 24-hour supportive housing program for previously homeless people living with HIV/AIDS. In addition, they offer no-cost, confidential HIV, hepatitis C and syphilis testing to anyone.

For more information on those and other services and assistance available through the Center, you can access the website at www.philadelphiacenter.org

The address for the auction is www.pcauction.org.

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