Corks and Canvas bring Good Times for a Good Cause
The mission of the Good Samaritan Project is to provide support and care for a diverse community of individuals affected by HIV/AIDS. The organization also strives to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS through education and advocacy. On April 27, 2007 in Kansas City, they did just that. Te event was held at Boulevard Brewing Company, 2501 Southwest Blvd., Kansas City, MO from 7pm until 10pm, though there were plenty of people hanging around later. Corks and Canvas is a much anticipated silent and live auction fundraising event for the Good Samaritan Project.
As the name suggests, the seventh annual Corks & Canvas event proved to be an extravaganza of art, food, wine and good time, all for the best of causes. Corks and Canvas patrons enjoyed a casual but excellent fare from local caters and artist. The annual Corks and Canvas has become a much anticipated signature event for Good Samaritan Project. The main event, a fundraising auction held at the Boulevard Brewing Company sold out early. This years auction event feature trips, art, themed baskets and party packages. Good Samaritan Project Executive Director Jimmy Woodcock hasn’t released a final tally n the funds raised yet, but it looks like this may be the most successful event to date. And every cent raised will help the organization to work toward its mission of providing services to individual and families affect by HIV/AIDS
Good Samaritan Project began operation in response to Kansas City’s AIDS crisis in 1985. Kansas City was one of the first cities across the country to begin providing an array of comprehensive services for this population of people. And while many placed view the HIV/AIDS issue as less of a crisis than it was in 1985, Good Samaritan Project continues to work hard to educate the community and advocate for the best care possible for those in need. The Corks and Canvas event is just one of the ways they accomplish this goal.
The original Good Samaritan Project was a grassroots effort of volunteers, started in a church basement in Kansas City. It has developed into a comprehensive agency for those affected by HIV/AID in 15 counties throughout Kansas and Missouri. Good Samaritan Project’s main office is now located in midtown, Kansas City Missouri. A second office opened in Kansas City, Kansas in 1997 to meet the growing need for outreach services there.
With the assistance of approximately 1000 volunteers and over a million dollar in funding Good Samaritan Project provides services to more than 1500 men women and children each year. Services include mental health services, employment services, social, medical, support groups, transportation, and emergency financial assistance. The goals are to give people what they need in an effort to assure access to the care they need. Some of the services are provided on a financial need basis and some are free services.
Good Samaritan Project also focuses on HIV/AIDS prevention and education program. Over 5,100 individuals participate in these programs annually, receiving education, testing and referrals. The prevention programs are available to the public. There are special programs focused on teens, men women, minorities and high risk groups.
Good Samaritan Project views fundraising as an integral part of the organization. Fundraising events like Corks & Canvas generates more than money. These events bring more recognition of the problem and they bring it to a broader audience. Stigma and discrimination continues to be an unfortunate reality for person with HIV/AIDS. Even in Kansas City, where Good Samaritan Project has operated for twenty years, stigma is an ongoing concern. The organization strives to gain the support of the entire community to address the needs of those currently affected and to offer prevention and education to the community at large. Corks and Canvas bridges both the need to raise money and educate the general community on the issues. Jimmy Woodcock, the Executive Director of Good Samaritan Project, has a reputation of being incredibly passionate, caring and driven to move the agency forward. Corks and Canvas masterfully balances the serious nature of HIV/AIDS with fun and entertainment.
According to the Good Samaritan Project website, between 850,000 and 950,000 people in the United States are infected with HIV. As many as 280,000 don’t know they are infected. Worldwide, a striking 11 out of every 1000 people are HIV infected. AIDS was first identified in the USA in 1981. There was a rapid increase during the 1980’s of people with aids and of people dying from the disease. The epidemic has now spread to every part of the USA and to all sectors of society. An estimated 1,411 children aged under 13 are living with AIDS, most of them acquired HIV from their mothers during pregnancy, labor, delivery or breastfeeding.
The good news is that people with AIDS are surviving longer. These means of course that the number of people living with AIDS will increase, and services from organizations like the Good Samaritan Project will continue to be needed. Since the mid 1990’s death rates have decreased as the antiretroviral therapy became available.
The number of deaths among people with AIDS has remained relatively stable since 1999; there were an estimated 17,011 deaths in 2005. Since the beginning of the epidemic, an estimated 550,394 people with AIDS have died in the USA. People between the ages of 35-44 years account for almost 40% of all AIDS cases diagnosed nearly three-quarters of all people who have died with AIDS did not live to the age of 45.
This years Cork and Canvas event was sponsored by many local and charitable organization and foundations as well as by individual donation. The largest contributor, The Morgan Family Foundation contributed $25,000 toward the event. Corks and Canvas is about the party, the auction, the give always, prizes and opportunity for a wonderful evening out in Kansas City. It’s also about the people of Kansas and Missouri living with HIV/AID and those across the United States and indeed, the word. For information about the Good Samaritan Project and next years Corks and Canvas, call 816-561-8784.