By Fraternity House, Inc.
After 30 years of providing caring homes and support to individuals living with HIV/AIDS, Fraternity House, Inc. (FHI) is gearing up to bring its relevant mission into the limelight with its first ever “Faith, Hope, and Brunch” – a musical gala and silent auction emceed by San Diego’s beloved Babette Schwartz and highlighted by bottomless mimosas and a stellar lineup of vocalists. The event will be held Saturday, Oct. 12, from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at Martinis Above 4th Table + Stage located at 3940 Fourth Ave.
Fraternity House family and brunch guests will be taken on a musical journey remembering, celebrating and honoring our community’s fight against HIV/AIDS. The set list includes gospel, standard, and modern favorites designed to evoke the past, fiercely celebrate the present, and finally, look to the future with hope and faith. The event features performances by Taylor Henderson, Shaun Tuazon, Top Shelf Brass, Eboni Muse, and Martini’s very own Janice Edwards, as well as a special guest performance by Fraternity House, Inc. resident Aaron Mellon.
Tickets are $99 for general admission and $129 for VIP, which includes premium seating, bottle service, and an exclusive bloody mary bar. Purchase tickets online at: fraternityhouse-inc.org/faith-hope-and-brunch.
Proceeds benefit FHI’s program to provide caring homes, rehabilitative support, and either end-of-life dignity or a return to independent living for San Diego County’s most vulnerable populations living with HIV/AIDS.
“We are so excited to celebrate ‘Faith, Hope, and Brunch’ with our family of friends and supporters,” says FHI Executive Director Matt Harding. “We also look forward to bringing new faces and voices into our tightknit family of friends, donors, and volunteers. This event is about celebration, telling our community’s story, and ‘Keeping Love Alive,’ just as we have for our residents every day since our founding in 1988.”
When FHI was founded, HIV/AIDS was considered a death sentence. Today people are living thanks to miraculous advancements in prevention medicine and treatment. More than 13,000 San Diego County residents are living with HIV/AIDS. Underserved, stigmatized, and economically disadvantaged populations without stable health care continue to be the hardest hit, with vastly disproportionate numbers within the homeless population. The county has adopted the collaborative “Getting to Zero” initiative with three key strategies: test, treat and prevent.
“The brunch is also an opportunity to keep the conversation alive,” Harding said. “Despite how far we have come, we are nowhere near the end of the road. Infection rates are relatively stable and what’s scary is 15% of those infected don’t even know it. What’s more, a simple disruption in life and interruption of meds can quickly lead to spiraling health. We believe that housing is health care and treatment is prevention. And so we seek to ensure that those who are not otherwise able have access and adhere to a medicine regime that prevents HIV from becoming harmful or communicable.”
“There is a lengthy waiting list of people who desperately need our services,” Harding continued. “The bottom line is just like with our own individual health, we cannot become complacent. It’s too soon to stop supporting HIV/AIDS services in our community – especially for our most vulnerable neighbors.”
FHI operates two homes, one in the Elfin Forest area of Escondido and the other – dubbed Michaelle House – in Vista. The homes provide these vulnerable populations with 24-hour care, assistance with activities of daily living, nutritious meals and snacks, medical case management and coordination, and transportation. FHI also provides rehabilitative services through individual goal setting, recreational activities, connection to education, and personal outings to help residents attain their highest level of independence, including a return to independence for many.
Through the years, FHI has amassed a loyal following of friends, volunteers and extended family members who have done just what family does – give unconditional love and help in times of need. One such friend has stood the test of time and will be presented with the first ever Ray of Light Award (named after FHI founder Ray Beierle) at the October brunch event. Board President Patrick Anderson — who has himself stood the test of time with 22 years of FHI involvement — is pleased at the chance to publicly recognize Pilgrim United Church of Christ and its parishioners for their long-term devotion to the FHI mission.
“Pilgrim Church has been a staunch ally of Fraternity House almost since our founding and has been a community leader in the fight against HIV/AIDS since the beginning of the crisis,” says Anderson. “They are the only North County church to host an event for World AIDS Day; they have hosted several special events for our residents and continue to bring work parties and holiday meals to our homes. For many years, they provided weekly dinners at our Escondido location. Individual church members have been amongst our most loyal and long-time volunteers, serving as drivers (before we could hire our own), cooks, and office help. Several church members, including their former pastor, have served on our board for many years. We are deeply grateful for the love they have shown and every good deed they have done to support the health of our residents and homes.”
Fraternity House also wishes to express gratitude to “Faith, Hope, & Brunch” event sponsors which include: the Human Dignity Foundation, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Senior’s Choice Home Improvement Specialists, RAGE, and Gay San Diego.
— Fraternity House, Inc. (FHI) was founded in 1988 to provide a caring, supportive home to people stricken by AIDS. The organization operates San Diego County’s only two residential care facilities for the chronically ill, complete with wrap-around rehabilitative support services and transitional living apartments. Here hundreds of men and women have been given the opportunity to regain health and rebuild their lives, either returning to independence, or passing in comfort and dignity. After 31 years and bearing witness to miraculous advancements in prevention medicine and treatment, the organization now serves as a crucial safety net for San Diego County’s most vulnerable populations living with HIV/AIDS.