Dine Out for My Life: Longtime Volunteer Betty Flenner

"I had the honor and privilege to be with two men as they passed over."

Every Thursday, between now and Dining Out for Life (DOFL), on April 25, G Philly will profile a different local who has been affected by HIV/AIDS. This week, longtime HIV/AIDS volunteer, Betty Flenner.

My name is … Betty Flenner

What’s your Philly connection? I was born in Philadelphia and currently live in Upper Darby, Pa.

What do you do for work? I am a retired Legal Secretary.

How has HIV affected your life? While I do not HIV/AIDS this disease has impacted me because so many of my friends are affected by it. My husband, who passed away six years ago, and I first volunteered at Calcutta House when they were located on Walnut Street in Philadelphia. At that time most people were not living very long past their diagnosis. We provided dinner once a week and I became very close to those who lived there. I had the honor and privilege to be with two of the men who lived there as they passed over. After that, we volunteered at ActionAIDS in the Buddy Program.

What is the biggest obstacle ActionAIDS has helped you overcome? Being a part of the ActionAIDS family has given me an opportunity to pass on the information I have learned about how HIV and AIDS can be contracted to those friends and acquaintances who are still under the impression — believe it or not — that this disease can be spread by a handshake, a kiss or a toilet seat! There are at least 50 of my friends and acquaintances who are wiser about that now.

Why should people take part in Dining Out for Life? You should make a reservation and as generous a contribution as you can to Dining Out for Life, because this epidemic is not over. Money is needed for continued research in order to conquer this disease once and for all!

This year’s edition of DOFL comprises 150 restaurants and nine food trucks that will donate 33 percent of that day’s earnings to local HIV-fighting organization, ActionAIDS. For more info on participating restaurants and to make reservations, go to diningoutforlife.com/philadelphia.

Other Dine Out for My Life participants: