The Luncheon Club is facing possible shutdown if members from the community don’t start donating.

The Luncheon Club has been providing food and services to people living with and affected by HIV since 1993 and for the first time in its 14-year history is facing an unknown period without a fundraiser in sight.

Used to raising money through fundraising nights at local GLBT venues like the Flinders and the Imperial, the charity is just another victim of Sydney’s dwindling gay scene.

“It’s the first time in our history that I’ve found myself sitting here, looking ahead, without a single fundraising event in cooee. It really is dire straits,” Luncheon Club founder and president Carole Ann King said.

“There aren’t as many venues to hold events, we’ve lost the opportunities that we had at the Mardi Gras after-party and Sleaze Ball because they don’t allow pass-outs any more, and the money we used to make from selling Chupa Chups has dropped from $3,000 to $700 dollars over the years as crystal meth has taken over from ecstasy.

“On average, we help about 45 people a week and have 759 registered clients on our books that we help by getting them food and getting them into the system to get help for mental illness.

“It’s a simple matter of mathematics. We need $150,000 a year to keep running. We get $44,000 from the government and the rest has to come from donors. Every cent of the dollar donated to us goes to buying food and helping the people who need it.

“If we shut down there is nowhere else for these people to go. They can go to the Salvation Army to get a hamper, but the level of discrimination that is out there towards people living with HIV is astounding. That’s why we have so many straight families who come to us because they’ve been treated so badly elsewhere, so can you imagine what they do to gay people?”

King said despite steady HIV rates in NSW, the Luncheon Club was still a vital service in Sydney.

“The thing people need to realise is that one day you might need our services,” she said.

“HIV is still an issue, mental health is still an issue. It can happen to anyone at any time – to you, or a friend or loved one of yours. So we need people to start helping with donations.”

If you would like to donate to the Luncheon Club you can via its website,, or leave cash and food donations at the Sydney Star Observer office, level 3, 21 Oxford St, Darlinghurst.

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