More than 30 years ago Father William F. Collins, known as “Father Bill,” and a group of volunteers began providing services on 18th Street in Pompano Beach for local patients with HIV/AIDS who had been discharged from the hospital. It was the beginning of what would later be the Poverello Center, now located in Wilton Manors.
The center provides a variety of services from offering nutritional meals to running a large thrift store. The mission over the years has been focused on those with needs arising from HIV.
But times have changed and so has the mission, which includes not only helping those with HIV, but other critical and chronic illnesses. The nonprofit is in the beginning phases of the transition.
The change was in part a recognition that funding sources needed to be more diversified. The early results have been mixed, and Poverello is still in need of a variety of help.
Kevin J. Clevenger, events and fundraising coordinator, is on the front lines with other staff members spreading the word about their needs.
“When I first started over three years ago, I was hired to do one major event called ‘Bowling to Fight Hunger,’" Clevenger said. “The event was successful but needed a reboot in the community.”
Clevenger rebooted it by developing community partners in radio, and now advertises on the airwaves to reach a new audience. He’s also upped Poverello’s Facebook audience and redesigned Poverello’s website.
Clevenger’s experience is unique. He worked for 13 years doing promotional tours — as a tour manager and truck driver — at events, fairs and festivals.
It’s fundraising, said Clevenger, which was new to him. Along with money, he said, the center is in need of trucks, volunteers, donors, shoppers and board members.