AIDS Alliance, Hopkins’ AIDS awareness club on campus, held an annual banquet not only to satisfy the Indian food cravings of students all around, but also to raise awareness about AIDS in the Baltimore community. This past Friday, in one of the Charles Commons ballrooms, club president and senior Bryan Kohrs assembled his team to put together an unforgettable and educational banquet. At the banquet, the club emphasized the prevalence of AIDS in our local community.
In an interview with The News-Letter, Khors said, “The local community here in Baltimore city and surrounding counties have some of the highest HIV/AIDS rates in the entire U.S.”
When asked how he got involved in AIDS Alliance, he said, “I first attended an AIDS Alliance meeting sophomore year because one of my friends told me there was pizza at meetings and I was hungry. I continued coming and eventually found my way onto the board because they were good people committed to volunteering for what I thought was and still is an important cause.”
This annual buffet is one of the club’s main events. This year, it began with an all you can eat Indian buffet catered by Indigma Indian Restaurant. After the food, there were guest speakers, dance teams, a capella groups and a raffle to entertain the crowd.
“Event planning was a disjointed mess for the most part that came together at the end. Our board and small but loyal membership came through with all of their individual tasks to coordinate catering, performances, speakers, decorations, advertising, etc. We were fortunate to get a great pair of speakers from our local partner, Moveable Feast,” said Kohrs.
The speakers included Cynthia Sears, a professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and Tom Bonderenko, the executive director of Moveable Feast, an organization that, among other things, provides food to Maryland residents with AIDS. Kohrs first heard Sears speak during a class that brings professors from all Hopkins campuses to Homewood for a 1.5 hour lecture once a week.
“Dr. Cynthia Sears spoke ... about her research into infectious disease and mentioned that she worked on infectious disease as an attending at Sloane-Kettering in New York City during the early 1980s ... she saw some of the first AIDS patients every recorded,” Kohrs said.
AIDS Alliance partners with Moveable Feast to further assist those with HIV/AIDS. Moveable Feast provides nutritious meals and other services at no cost to people who are sick and need support. “They provide food for people living in poverty with these conditions and AIDS Alliance goes once a month and helps them with whatever they might need: chopping vegetables, putting the food in the trays, packaging the tray etc.,” said Vidushi Purohit, sophomore and AIDS Alliance board member.
The event served as a learning opportunity for its members and the attendees.
Sophomore Ching Xie noted, “My favorite part was the video that we saw. Being a member of AIDS Alliance and having personally worked at Moveable Feast, I was not exactly sure what we were doing except feeding those who were in a situation where they could not receive a healthy meal on their own.” The video depicted members, workers, and receivers of Moveable Feast describing to viewers how the organization has helped them in many ways.
“I think after watching the video it was a lot more clear to me personally what Moveable Feast was about and what they were trying to achieve in the community. After hearing of all the progress that they’ve made and seeing the impact that they have had on people motivated me to try and contribute more to the program and AIDS alliance overall,” Xie said.