“We gotta think about other people around Christmas time,” said owner Gregory Curtis.
It's not just talk. He and two of his fellow Seminole Heights merchants have organized the Holiday in Seminole Heights event, Saturday, Dec. 10, from 6-9 p.m. During those hours, eight neighborhood businesses will sell raffle tickets for store merchandise, plus offer cocktails, hors d'oeuvres and sweets.
All raffle proceeds, plus a portion of store sales during event hours will benefit Francis House, a Seminole Heights non-profit agency that provides services to this affected by HIV.
To plan the event, Curtis said he met with D and D Antiques and More co-owner Debra Vallejo, and Sherry King of . “Let's make it a give-back event,” Curtis suggested. King and Vallejo nominated Francis House. “I thought it was an awesome idea,” Curtis said. “Because we wanted to pick someone that's been here in Seminole Heights for a long time. Especially in these times, because we all know about how companies are cutting back in their donations.”
“We are honored that the businesses in Seminole Heights are having this event,” Francis House director of client services Vicky Oliver wrote in an e-mail. “It means everything to us. We are excited that people are learning about what we do. It is tough because people believe that HIV is not as much of an issue as it was. There are medications and treatment available but what people do not realize is that the funding is limited and people still suffer from the stigma associated with HIV as well as daily pain and lack of support."
Among the services Francis House offers, Oliver said, are medical case management, mental health counseling, substance abuse relapse prevention, support groups, housing case management, emergency financial assistance and food services through a food pantry and daily meals.
Oliver said Francis House is funded through various sources, including city, county and state grants.
The participating Holiday in Seminole Heights businesses include:
- , 5127 N Florida Ave., 813-374-0305
- D and D Antiques and More, 4709 N Florida Ave., 813-625-3703
- , 6116 N Central Ave., 813-231-3137
- , 5803 N Florida Ave., 813-231-2300
- , 6415 N Florida Ave., 813-234-5800
- Seminole Heights Antiques and Home Decor, 4713 N Florida Ave., 813-237-5850
- , 5207 N Florida Ave., 813-231-2020
- , 6112 N Central Ave., 813-374-2424