COLUMBIA - Rain-Central Missouri, Inc. hosted its annual wine and art gala on Thursday to raise funds for AIDS, HIV and STD testing.
The Regional Aids Interfaith Network focuses on providing care to people dying of AIDS in Central Missouri. The event featured a silent auction, wine tasting, gourmet appetizers and live entertainment to raise money for that care.
Director of Rain-Central Missouri, Inc. Cale Mitchell said it was the organization's most important fundraiser of the year.
"I think that a lot of people view this event as a really fun way to support the organization, and the evening will go off and we'll raise what we raise, and part of this event is getting out and being able to talk about what we do as well," said Mitchell.
The event, hosted at the historic Tiger Hotel in downtown Columbia, aimed to raise $60,000. The money will be put toward AIDS, HIV and STD testing, prevention and management, and to help make ends meet wherever funding falls short. The organization relied on money from ticket sales and donated auction items to reach its goal.
"We're seeing younger and younger populations who are affected by the disease and that is problematic because combine that with the bullet-proof aspect of youth thinking, and then a lack of education and a lack of accessibility for testing in a lot of these areas," said Mitchell.
Some of this year's noteworthy auction items included an electric guitar signed by heavy metal band Black Sabbath and a trip for two to the Caribbean valued at over $9,000.
Rain-Central Missouri, Inc. provides free STD testing and AIDS/HIV prevention outreach services to thousands of Missourians, in 37 Missouri counties. The organization also provides case management and housing programs in 66 counties for Missourians living with HIV/AIDS.
In total, Rain-Central Missouri, Inc. covers more than half the state of Missouri in client access to housing assistance through the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) program.