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Saturday,  May 25, 2024 2:30 PM 

SNAP@Home: Travel industry rallies to support the AIDS Committee of Toronto

SNAP@Home: Travel industry rallies to support the AIDS Committee of Toronto
Armando Mendonca (left), president of AMPM, which represents the Vienna Tourist Board in Canada.
Michael Pihach

Michael Pihach is an award-winning journalist with a keen interest in digital storytelling. In addition to PAX, Michael has also written for CBC Life, Ryerson University Magazine, IN Magazine, and Michael joins PAX after years of working at popular Canadian television shows, such as Steven and Chris, The Goods and The Marilyn Denis Show.

The AIDS Committee of Torontos (ACT) annual fundraiser and photography auction, Snap!, unfolded as an online event this year and the travel industry was out in full force to show its support.

Taking shape as an online gala called SNAP@Home on Thursday night (March 25), the live and silent auctions, which brought together a diverse group of contributing artists, galleries and sponsors, aimed to raise much-needed funds for ACT, which recently saw a $150,000 decline in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

ACT’s services amid the pandemic include critical phone and online services for those in need, in addition to mental health support, such as one-on-one counselling.  

“Providing online social support for women and young people living with HIV has helped meet the challenges of connecting with others during this pandemic,” wrote John Maxwell, executive director at ACT, in the event’s program.

Events like SNAP@Home ensures that ACT can continue its work, Maxwell wrote, and ensure that programs and services remain free for those in need. 

Travel industry comes together

The travel brands that supported this year’s event included Amazing Thailand (the Tourism Authority of Thailand) and Goway Asia (which joined forces to donate a seven-night experience from Bangkok to Phuket); Air Canada (which donated two Air Canada flight packages, each good for a pair of Business Class return tickets to anywhere Air Canada flies around the world); and the Vienna Tourist Board in partnership with Armando Mendonca, president of AMPM.

Mendonca, for one, has led money-raising initiatives for AIDS research and community programming for more than 25 years. “It’s a cause near and dear to my heart,” he told PAX, which participated in last night’s event. 

Naturally, he saw Vienna’s involvement at this year’s online Snap! gala as a natural fit.

“Europe’s biggest HIV/AIDS charity event, the Life Ball, took place in Vienna for 26 years,” Mendonca noted.

That eye-popping and opulent event began in 1993 and came to an end in 2019, raising more than €30 million for HIV/AIDS charities in Austria and around the world.

The arts and photography angle at Snap! also ties nicely into Vienna, a destination known for its creativity.

Vienna is known for its arts and culture scene. (Vienna Tourist Board)

“Snap! is a very art-driven event that brings together collectors and an affluent demographic that appreciates art, which ties very nicely into Vienna, which is famous for its arts and culture,” Mendonca added.

The Vienna Tourist Board has been staying active throughout the global pandemic with its online Vienna Showcase series, which invites visitors to take virtual tours of the city’s latest highlights in arts and culture.

For more on this year’s SNAP@Home event, click here

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