This month, Philadelphia AIDS Thrift surpassed $500,000 in donations since its founding.
Three recent donations helped the shop reach the milestone — its monthly $15,000 to the AIDS Fund, as well as $10,000 each to the Mazzoni Center’s annual coat and gift drive and to the Feast Incarnate Homeless Program in West Philadelphia.
AIDS Fund uses PAT’s monthly donations to then distribute among 30 area HIV/AIDS service organizations.
Manager Christina Kallas-Saritsoglou, who co-founded PAT in 2005, attributed the milestone to donors, shoppers and volunteers.
“It is rewarding and humbling because it is the work of so many people,” she said. “Without them, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do. It is amazing to watch them and see how they are the ones that make this whole place successful. We are surrounded by fun things all day and in addition, we meet some wonderful people. Our volunteers are fabulous people.”
The store now has 100 volunteers but started with just a handful, including co-founders Tom Brennan, Mike Wilson and Peter Heiler.
“We were volunteering ourselves,” Kallas-Saritsoglou said. “We even had some friends help out, but very quickly everything snowballed and people were interested in helping. It is amazing, and I never thought in a million years it would get to where it is now.”
About a year-and-a-half ago, PAT moved to a new location on South Fifth Street from its former Bainbridge Street shop.
Kallas-Saritsoglou said the move was a surprising success.
“It was the biggest shock ever. At the old space, we were giving away $8,000 monthly and now we are giving away $15,000 monthly in the new location,” she said. “The new location is right around the corner from the old one. But so many people who didn’t know we existed now do.”
To celebrate its latest milestone, PAT will host a variety of sales from Jan. 25-27, with up to 50-percent off different items each day. The festivities will include free food and drinks throughout the weekend.
For more information, visit www.phillyaidsthrift.com.