Out of the Closet Thrift Store has opened its newest location in Boerum Hill, at 475 Atlantic Avenue. The destination benefits the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. Regional Director Adam Ouderkirk tells DNAInfo.com that the shop will work in the community with other AIDS agencies to provide testing, information and treatment in the borough.
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation was founded in 1987 by a group of men in Los Angeles who saw their friends dying of AIDS in the streets and in the hallways of hospitals. They wanted to provide a place to die with dignity and sponsored California legislation that enabled creation of the first licensed HIV/AIDS facility for the terminally ill in that state. Today the Foundation is the largest provider of HIV/AIDS medication in the U.S., according to their website. They also provide medicine and advocacy to people in 22 countries.
Out of the Closet was created to benefit the foundation. Community members donate clothing and accessories and for every item sold, 96 cents of each dollar benefits AIDS prevention and advocacy programs and services. There are several branches in San Francisco and Los Angeles, plus stores in Miami, Amsterdam… and now Brooklyn.
Ouderkirk tells DNAInfo, “We want the Brooklyn community to really own the store and feel that its theirs.” There will be free and confidential HIV testing every day in the store, plus a pharmacy that provides HIV medications.
According to Ouderkirk, while the Brooklyn borough has the third-highest AIDS/HIV rates after Manhattan and the Bronx, it also offers the fewest amount of services.
“Brooklyn was an important place for us to be. And being near the Atlantic Terminal, hopefully people from all over Brooklyn will have access to the store and its services.”
The store’s manager is Carlos Cartayas, who is known as “Peanut.” He says, “We have had several boxes of clothes donated from L.A. but none so far from the Brooklyn. I don’t think people know we’re here yet.” To donate, call 718-614-5949 or drop off clothes any weekday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m at 475 Atlantic Avenue.