In the early 2000s, Painter started out simply helping deliver meals, like the hundreds of people who show up each year to take the holiday meals across Oklahoma City. It wasn’t until Tim’s death that Painter became even more involved.
For example, Painter’s 40th birthday party was a fundraiser for Other Options that raised $20,000. That money helped the agency buy a building for its office and food pantry.
Since becoming an organizer for Other Options’ Thanksgiving meal delivery, Painter has seen the program grow from 225 meals in 2006 to 750 meals in 2013 — unfortunately, due to need.
“It’s a number you don’t enjoy seeing grow, but what you do enjoy is the number of people who continue to give the food and give their time,” Painter said. “It’s amazing the number of people who show up for that now.”
Painter said he wants to continue to spread awareness about AIDS, including prevention among the younger generation that did not live through the 1980s era when so many people were dying from the disease.
Statistics show the younger generation is among the fastest-growing sector of new infections, according to the Oklahoma AIDS Care Fund.
“I’m one voice, and I’m going to continue to tell the stories of Tim, Troy, Michael, Joe, Steve; those are the people in my life,” Painter said.
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22nd Red Tie Night
What: The 22nd Red Tie Night, the sole fundraiser for the Oklahoma AIDS Care Fund, an organization that helps finance grants for community-based initiatives
When: 6 p.m. Saturday at the Cox Convention Center
Tickets: $350 each, along with sponsorships for couples and groups starting at $1,000.
All money generated through the event stays in Oklahoma to support those living with HIV/AIDS.
For more information, go to www.okaidscarefund.com.