The AIDS Benefit Foundation of South Carolina will present the 24th Annual Dining with Friends Annual Dessert Finale at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Koger Center for the Arts at 1051 Greene Street in Columbia.
The ABFSC is a strictly volunteer-operated nonprofit organization with the sole purpose of raising and distributing money to those who serve and educate others dealing with the HIV/AIDS. ABFSC hosts a variety of events of all sizes throughout the year to meet its fundraising goals. Last year ABFSC granted almost $50,000 to HIV/AIDS service organizations around the Midlands. The foundation has no office costs or paid staff in an effort to distribute the maximum amount to its grant recipients.
South Carolina currently ranks 13 out of all 50 states for incidence of HIV/AIDS cases. Columbia and Charleston are both ranked in the top 20 U.S. metropolitan cities for prevalence of HIV/AIDS cases.
The ABFSC attempts to raise funding and awareness to support the HIV/AIDS community with their “Dining with Friends” program. Throughout the year, hosts from all over the Midlands have parties in their homes such as wine tastings, cookouts, holiday events and dinners, to raise money and awareness for the mission of the ABFSC. On June 11, these hosts and their guests will gather with the public for the Dessert Finale at the Koger Center.
The event will feature a variety of gourmet desserts from restaurants like Café Strudel, Ally and Eloise, Cupcake, Albert’s, Tiffany’s, Eat My Cakes , Joe’s Cheesecake, Silver Spoons Bake Shop, and Nonnah’s. There will also be an open bar, live entertainment from DJ Dylan Deekay, and a silent auction where guests may bid on a wide range of other high-value items, including locally made art and restaurant and tourism packages.
“It is so important to continue the mission of AIDS awareness with events like this,” said Alli Willingham, president elect of the ABFSC’s Board of Directors. “Right now, 1 in 5 new HIV/AIDS cases reported in South Carolina are among people who are just 25 or younger. We have to come together as a community and address that AIDS is still a threat.”