Donations sought for efforts to help those in need
HOUSTON VOICE » DECEMBER 10, 1999
OCCASIONS • COMMUNITY CALENDAR
CLASSIFIEDS • BUSINESS DIRECTORY
CARMART • MY STARS
by ROBERT B. HENDERSON
Last week's World AIDS Day marked the
start of two annual holiday drives to assist
those impacted by HIV/AIDS.
The Fifth Annual Red Ribbon Toy Drive,
a partnership between AIDS Foundation
Houston, Texas Children's Hospital and
University of Texas at Houston Health
Science Center, ends today, but volunteers
are needed to bag and distribute the toys on
Organizers hope the campaign will bring
in 3,000 unwrapped toys to help up to 700
children, said Ken Kelly, communications
director for AIDS Foundation Houston.
Between four and six gifts are provided
for each child, including a major gift and
some stocking stuffers, Kelly said.
The Red Ribbon Toy Drive is assisted by
the National Leather Association:Houston,
which stopped its own toy drive to bolster
the Red Ribbon effort. Other groups that
help include KTBU Channel 55, MAC
Cosmetics, Toys R Us, Weingarten Realty,
KHYS-98.5 and the Alley Theater.
"Last year, we collected around 2,500
toys," Kelly said. "I feel comfortable we'll
even top that this year. The response has
been really incredible."
While the Red Ribbon Toy Drive ends
today, some volunteers are needed to sort
and bag the toys for gender and age, Kelly
The 10th Annual Holiday Gift Box
Project, sponsored by Blaffer Gallery, The
Art Museum of the University of Houston,
runs through Dec. 16. The drive benefits
clients of Bering Care Center and Omega
The event grew out of World AIDS Day
and Day Without Art events, and the drive
expanded to benefit Bering and Omega
when the two AIDS service organizations
merged last year, said Davis Northcutt,
Holiday Gift Box Project Coordinator at
"At the time, what a lot of museums and
places were doing was covering up a piece
of art with black fabric," he said. "We did
that for a couple of years, but we decided
we would do something more proactive.
Instead of just being negative, we would
take on this project."
Blaffer enlisted the partnership
of other arts organizations in Houston,
like Museum of Fine Arts-Houston,
The Menil Collection, DiverseWorks, The
Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston
Coalition of Visual Artists and The Art
League to help with the project.
The project seeks donations of new, basic
supplies, like shampoo, T-shirts, deodorant,
toothbrushes, razors, toilet paper, dental
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Kathy Baker, a program manager with AIDS
Foundation Houston, was one of several volunteers on hand in December 1998 to distribute
about 2,500 toys to more than 600 children
affected by HIV/AIDS during the Red Ribbon Toy
Drive. Officials hope to colect even more during
this year's event.
floss, mouthwash, calendars, stamps and
soap. Drop spots for the items are spread
across the city, including Blaffer Gallery
and Houston Voice.
The donations will be distributed at the
Bering Omega holiday part on Dec. 17.
"When we first started doing the pro)ect,
it was almost all male—some gifts are gen
der specific. This year they're asking for
roughly two-thirds male, one third
female. It shows the changing face of
HIV/AIDS," Northcutt said.
Organizers hope to provide each of the
60 clients with a box of supplies,
Dec. 20, 6 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
Riva's Italian Restaurant
Holiday Gift Box Project
Art Museum of the
University of Houston
Through Dec. 16
Red Ribbon Toy Drive
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