LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Twinkling lights and colorful decorations are hallmarks of the holiday season, but for some, the holidays don't spark inspiration to decorate but fear that they may not be able to pay their bills.
The team at AVOL Kentucky takes this issue seriously in any year but especially in a year like 2020.
"The need is greater than ever," AVOL Executive Director Jon Parker said. "People are really struggling. They want to stay safe from COVID, they're trying to take care of their health and conditions."
AVOL's Home For The Holidays program isn't new, but thanks to the pandemic, it has a renewed importance.
During the holiday season, 100% of donations made to AVOL are applied to a fund that helps with emergencies for the following year to help keep vulnerable people in their homes, pay bills and make ends meet.
"To us housing is healthcare," Parker said. "People who are living with HIV who are in medical treatment and on medications, they are able to stay on top of their health and the level of virus in their body goes down and they feel better."
Those dollars are not just money in the bank. As community engagement manager Anthony Smallwood explained, they translate to improving the quality of life, not only for the 400 people AVOL serves who live with HIV but the families and community around them.
"If a family is deciding between I'm going to buy a Christmas gift or I'm going to pay the heat bill, sometimes they're putting on sweaters to make sure their child has something for Christmas," Smallwood said. "We step in and help when we can and pay that heat bill so that family can have some sense of normalcy in their world."
Right now, every dollar donated will be matched up to $10,000 thanks to AVOL's partners: Gilead Sciences, Bobby R. Cummins Kentucky Farm Bureau Insurance, and David Oliver.
Click here to donate to the program.