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Peoria Players, FRIENDS collaborating on HIV testing

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This weekend at Lakeview Park in Peoria, Central Illinois FRIENDS will provide free HIV testing in their mobile unit from 6 to 10 p.m. on Saturday June 11 and from 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday June 12.

The testing will be done while Peoria Players Theatre will be performing “RENT.” The theatre will be continuing its collaboration of raising funds for Central Illinois FRIENDS.

Peoria Players has raised over $1,500 already to help those infected by HIV locally. “Although this may not seem to be a lot, it goes a long way that a nonprofit of the arts is coming together to raise funds for a medical nonprofit organization,” said Deric Kimler, who is director of “RENT”, the Tony Award-winning, groundbreaking musical about friends dealing with AIDS.

With the state holding money from both nonprofits because of the budget stalemate, this collaboration has helped make up for cutbacks on budgets and loss of beneficiaries. Kimler said.

The money raised by Peoria Players has gone to do the following for Central Illinois:

  • Purchased Washer/Dryer for a couple with HIV
  • Helped paid rent for four Central Illinois FRIENDS beneficiaries
  • Helped a client turn utilities back on
  • Placed a homeless HIV patient

“Without Central Illinois FRIENDS and without the funds generated by two local nonprofits, these eight beneficiaries would be forced to choose between homelessness and their expensive medications,” Kimler said. “Without these services these patients would likely die a harmful and painful death caused by AIDS, on the streets of central Illinois. Once again, although eight is not a big number, when you take in effect that all of them have jobs, families, and loved ones, this becomes a larger pain to the community of Central Illinois.”