Metro Wellness & Community Centers announces annual benefit, honorees

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ST. PETERSBURG | Metro Wellness & Community Centers will hold its annual fundraiser on Nov. 10, benefitting the organization’s diverse lineup of LGBTQ programming and honoring community leaders.

This year’s celebration, presented by Mail Meds pharmacy for the sixth consecutive year, will be a “PeaCocktail Party” held at the Stetson University College of Law in Gulfport from 7-11 p.m. The organization describes the gathering as a bold and colorful party, celebrating the beauty of Tampa Bay’s diversity. Metro will honor three outstanding individuals, the organization shared Oct. 24, for their excellence and leadership in the Tampa Bay community. Honorees include St. Petersburg Deputy Mayor Dr. Kanika Tomalin, Christina Burke and Todd Richardson.

Tomalin will receive the Robert Pope Distinguished Leadership Award, named after the organization’s founder. “As a member of the current St. Petersburg City administration, she has exemplified the art of acceptance in her recognition, support and celebration of our LGBTQ+ community while establishing a truly inclusive campaign to highlight the pillars of healthy living in our city,” the organization advises.

Metro will honor Burke with its Spirit of Excellence Award for her years of dedication to Tampa Bay’s HIV community. They note that her “efforts have defined what it means to ‘care’ vs. ‘treat’ those living with HIV,” adding that “from diagnosis to daily living, her work has touched the lives of hundreds if not thousands across Tampa Bay, with an approach that embodies the concept of holistic.”

Finally, Equality Florida’s Richardson will receive the Dr. John Barnett Outstanding Service Award. Metro notes that Richardson will receive the honor “for his tireless and unwavering dedication and passion to serving Tampa Bay’s LGBTQ+ community that extends above and beyond his day job as a champion of equality.”

For $50, attendees in casual and colorful attire – who are also encouraged to come as they are – will enjoy an open bar, heavy hors d’oeuvres, dessert and live entertainment from area favorites like singer Jennifer Real and DJ L Mo. The organization also teases a different take on this year’s silent auction and some additional surprises.

“The most important thing about it is that it funds the LGBTQ+ programming that is not funded by grants or any other sources of income which come into Metro,” Metro Vice President of Marketing and Communication Brian Bailey says of the gathering. “It’s a great opportunity to make sure that we can continue to provide those resources to the LGBTQ+ community, specifically to seniors, youth and the transgender community.”

Stetson University College of Law is located at 1401 61st St S. in Gulfport. For more information about Metro’s PeaCocktail Party or to purchase tickets, visit MetroTampaBay.org/Peacocktailtickets.

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