NEW YORK -- It's almost time to push play on the pandemic pause for AIDS Walk New York.
Sunday, thousands will flood Central Park to raise awareness and money for GMHC.
CBS2s Vanessa Murdock reports on the important work made possible by the largest HIV AIDS fundraising event in the world.
It's a big comeback, planned for this weekend.
"In Memory of Wanda" team leader Shacazia Brown, can't wait to walk with her team, 55 strong and counting.
"Yes, now we can hug, before we couldn't. We're really excited," Brown said.
Money raised benefits GMHC.
"We're celebrating now our 40th anniversary and we are still here fighting to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic and uplift the lives of all affected," said Jason Cianciotto of GMCH.
Cianciotto, the group's vice president of communications and policy, says comprehensive programs and services the arsenal in GMHC's fight, including;
- Free testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases
- Prevention education
- Mental health services
- Substance abuse treatment
"We're also one of the first HIV service organizations to provide legal services, so we can help clients who are facing anything from discrimination in housing or employment," Cianciotto said.
Nutrition Counseling, frees meals too.
Murdock watched volunteers pack hundreds of bags of fresh produce, dairy and shelf stable food.
Andre Pacheco, a client for years, waited in line to pick up the essentials - enough food for a week.
"They help you out, they help you out when you really need something," Pacheco said.
Grace Holihen, director of nutrition and meals, shares that on average 130 people, clients and community members come to pick up each week.
"We couldn't do it without our funders, our community. The AIDS Walk especially is a great way for us to raise money to support these, because just as our clients are experiencing those rising food costs, so are we," Holihen said.
She hopes for a huge turnout.
"It makes all the difference," Holihen said.
Each step taken at AIDS Walk New York represents progress made in the fight to end HIV/AIDS.
New this year, a post-walk dance party featuring music from the Paradise Garage era.
CBS2 News is a proud media sponsor of AIDS Walk New York.
We hope you'll join us on May 15th in Central Park to raise awareness, raise money and break the stigma of HIV/AIDS.
For more information on GMHC and AIDS Walk New York, CLICK HERE.
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