Every November, the Boston Living Center a non-profit community and resource center, gathers people living with HIV/AIDS and their loved ones for a traditional Thanksgiving Dinner to celebrate the joy of life. On Tuesday, November 25, the tradition of the Celebration of Life continued at the Hynes Convention Center with more than 700 guests and several hundred volunteers, including twelve from the Ragon Institute.
Guests enjoyed a free, full-course Thanksgiving meal and entertainment. In honor of the 25th anniversary of the Boston Living Center, the annual Peter Daniel Clark Award given to individuals who are dedicated to advocating for and serving those living with HIV/AIDS was presented to the entire membership of the Boston Living Center and accepted by long-term survivors Joe Lemieux and JoAnn Coull.
Volunteers at the event, like the twelve Ragon volunteers, are called “TIPS” volunteers which stands for “Thanksgiving Is People Serving” and they live up to their acronym. Teams of volunteers are encouraged to raise funds and this year the servers raised a combined total of more than $40,000 to benefit programs at the BLC. And there is still time to donate! Please visit the Ragon fundraising page by Monday, December 22 to donate to the cause.
For Ragon Project Coordinator, Megan Curtis who co-organized the Ragon team, it was her first time participating in the event. “There was a lot of love in the room – folks who were enjoying the dinner were sharing the meal amongst friends and family, and many took time to thank the volunteers for being there and participating in the special night. I’m already looking forward to next year’s dinner!”
“The Celebration of Life is one of the most beautiful, spirited and important events in our City of Boston,” said Victory Programs‘ President & CEO Jonathan Scott. “In the true spirit of celebration, this gathering creates a sparkling room of hope and community – a fitting beginning to the holiday season.”
Pictured in the banner above are Ragon servers, Alyssa Clark, Kathy Donnelly, Megan Curtis and Whitney Howe.
Photos by Nancy Millstrom and Basu. More photos available on Flickr.