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" We envision a community where people living with HIV/AIDS can have an empowered, loving life without barriers. Auntie Helen’s started in 1988 as a Fluff & Fold for those affected with HIV/AIDS. In 1989, we grew to generate support for the benefit of those affected, by providing a community thrift store. We have now broadened our resources to serve as a link to medical care and mental health programs for those who are positive, as well as to provide resources for their families and friends. Auntie Helen’s partners with medical clinics in San Diego to offer free preventative care, confidential testing, and educational resources for preventive drugs. In doing so, we hope to be part of the future without AIDS"
Gary Cheatham founded Auntie Helen’s in a one-car garage in July, 1988, as a fluff and fold laundry project to help one person with AIDS.
Since that time, our grassroots, community-based agency has served thousands of people with HIV and AIDS, providing free laundry services for people who are too sick to do their own. Auntie Helen’s expanded to include a thrift shop in August 1989. Co-located with our laundry service, the shop financially assists the laundry operation.
Since our humble beginnings, 100% of the net proceeds have benefited HIV/AIDS organizations in San Diego and San Diego County. We started with a voucher program, which provided clothing and items to our referred clients, clothing and blankets for the homeless, and small food distribution for those living with HIV/AIDS. We still provide laundry services for those clients referred to us by a licensed doctor. Additionally, we have volunteers from the TRACE, ARC and SIP programs which are all Mental Health programs with the school, county and private sector.