We’re Doing Stuff!

Philly AIDS Thrift, the non-profit thrift-store that benefits Philly area HIV/AIDS service organizations, is experiencing a ridiculous convergence of big things happening all at once: An Anniversary celebration and BLOCK PARTY, a major expansion of store sales space, and our biggest ever increase in our monthly donation to the AIDS Fund.
Store manager Tom Brennan explains the news glut, “It’s probably easiest to list everything happening at once:

1. We are like big, clumsy children here so we celebrate our birthday every year, but this year for the first time we’re going to have a block party as the

centerpiece of our three day party. We turn eight years old on the last weekend in September, so we’ll have three days of food refreshments and special sales to mark the milestone, Friday to Sunday, September 27th to 29th. And this year we’re adding a block party to the mix–On Saturday the 28th, we’re closing down 5th Street in front of thestore from noon to 7pm–we’ll have food trucks, vendors, music, amusements and dancing in the streets.”

2. The store will be expanding by 50% in new sales space in November. We just signed the lease to take over the OTHER second floor of our home at 710 S.5th Street. On the south side of the wall of our existing 2nd floor is a mirror image space (size-wise that is, it’s got a different and cool layout) which we will take overin October and have open to shopping in November. This all means more space for more stuff and better arrangement and display of what we already have. We couldn’t be happier or more excited by the prospect of more room to grow.”3. The store’s board voted at its September meeting to increase the store’s monthly donation to the AIDS Fund by $2,500 a month for a new total of $17,500 going forward. This is our largest ever increase and is a testament to how successful the store’s move to our new home two years ago has been. We will be giving$210,000 to the AIDS Fund in the next twelve months at our new monthly rate. We also do special-case donations during the year to specific projects that the board votes to fund (as in the last twelve months we did three special grants–$10,000 to the Mazzoni Centers Holiday overcoat drive, $10,000 to renovate the kitchen that makes the meals for the Feast incarnate Homeless Program in West Philly, and $20,000 to fund the renovation and expansion of HIV testing space at Wash West’s facility at 12th and Locust.) We used to celebrate every$50,000 and $100,000 fundraising milestone, but they come so fast now that we only do it for the really big ones. Look for our $750,000 celebration in February

(or January if a special grant gets us there faster).”

And I’m not going to even mention the facelift the store will be getting in the next several weeks. We’ll give our beauty makeover its own press release when it’s ready for unveiling.”

Store Volunteer co-ordiantor, Christina Kallas-Saritsoglou, fills in some block party details, “We have the perfect location for a front-of-the-store block party, so weh ope

this is the first of many. Our store is right where S.5th St and Passyunk Ave merge meld and separate again, so we can close down the 5th street portion and there’s still the Passyunk side available for traffic to continue north on. Of course the traffic will probably be at standstill with everybody rubbernecking our street party. We’ll have music all day and dancing is definitely encouraged, food trucks will be serving up lunch dinner and dessert, we’ve invited a bunch of vendors we know to sell there wares outdoors for a day, and we’ll have various carnival amusements and entertainers alternately delighting and disturbing the crowd. And oh yeah, we just booked a Justin Bieber bouncy house. Bounce inside the Beeb, just be sure to visit the food trucks AFTER your session with Justin. God, I just hope we have nice weather!”

Philly AIDS Thrift’s Block Party Birthday happens Saturday, September 28th from noon to 7pm, in front of the store on the 700 block of S 5th Street.

Philly AIDS Thrift opened its original store at 514 Bainbridge St. in the fall of 2005. It expanded to a warehouse sales and processing space at 527 Bainbridge in 2006. In July of 2011, it moved all its operations to 710

S. 5th Street.

To date, Philly AIDS Thrift has donated $676,000.00 to Philly area AIDS service providers. In addition to its cash contributions it partners with these same service agencies to provide free store vouchers to clients in need of clothing and household necessities.


Philly AIDS Thrift

710 S. 5th St

Philadelphia, Pa


Store Hours:
Mon-Thurs 11am-8pm
Fri & Sat 11am-9pm

Sunday 11am-7pm

Washington West Project’s $20K Renovation

Philadelphia Magazines's GPhilly

PHOTOS: Washington West Project’s $20K Renovation

The new floor plan creates more space for employees and guests, and a whole new loft area for local youth groups.

Posted by Josh Middleton on 8/28/2013 at 11:32AM | No Comments

Center City HIV-testing hub Washington West Project is back in business after undergoing a two-week renovation. The updates come courtesy of a $20K grant provided by Philly AIDS Thrift in Queen Village.

“We have a great community space in the middle of the Gayborhood,” says Prevention Services Director Eric Paulukonis, ”but we didn’t have enough space to accommodate everyone who was coming through the door.” He projects that the new, more-open layout will make the flow of operations smoother, which will in turn help increase the Center’s testing capacity. “More people will be able to get tested and fewer will be walking out because of long lines.”

He walked me through some of the updates (you can click on the images to make them larger):

On the first floor, walls were opened up to create a reception area for guests and a more-organized workspace for employees. There were hardwood floors installed and fresh paint applied throughout. But perhaps most exciting, is that the large area in the back has been split into two private testing rooms (pictured, below.)

The second and third levels didn’t see much change, but the spaces will benefit from the extra testing room on the first floor. This means there will be fewer crowds and less double-booking of the rooms on these levels, which are used to accommodate groups like TRUE Care Clinic, Sisterly LOVE and the T.R.I.P Project.

Another exciting addition is the neat loft area on the fourth floor, which will be used as a space for youth groups like Street Smarts and A1PHA Project. GO! Girls, a local “giving circle” that pulls its resources to help female-supportive Philly orgs, freshened up the space with a new coat of paint. Funding from Philly AIDS Thrift provided new carpet and a window overlooking 12th Street. Paulukonis says there will be new furniture and a large flat-screen TV coming soon.

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