EPIC hosts drive-in film fundraiser

ABOVE: Meryl Streep in “Mamma Mia!” Photo via the film’s Facebook page.

ST. PETERSBURG | Empath Partners in Care (EPIC) will host a drive-in screening of “Mamma Mia!” May 23 from 7-10 p.m. at its St. Petersburg campus to raise funds for essential services.

“Enjoy a fun night under the stars while supporting EPIC and its life-changing HIV support and care,” the organization shared May 14. “Come ready to sing and dance along in your cars to your favorite songs.”

The 2008 film is based on the 1999 musical of the same name, inspired by the music of LGBTQ icons ABBA. It stars Meryl Streep, Pierce Bosnan, Colin Firth and more. Watch its original trailer below, via the film’s Facebook page:

“Mamma Mia!” will be broadcast on two mobile movie screens, with each car’s radio receiving the audio. The organization will have individually-wrapped snacks and non-alcoholic beverages available for purchase utilizing personal protective equipment (PPE) and the appropriate social distancing measures. Cars can also bring their own snacks and restrooms will be available for use.

“We are so excited to be able to begin to get back into the swing of things and start getting back out into our community,” EPIC Executive Director Joy Winheim says. “This is a great way to get people who have felt cooped up at home to be able to get out with their families and do something safe!”

Tickets are a suggested donation of $20 per car and are available now. They may also be purchased the evening of the screening if space is still available.

The fundraiser supports EPIC’s services, Winheim explains, which have continued with modification in response to COVID-19. “While we have had to change the way we do things to keep the staff and the clients safe, we never stopped providing services,” she says.

The organization’s mental health services moved to a Telehealth platform and medical case managers provided services via telephone, video conferencing and even at times, face to face settings. EPIC’s food pantry continued its service as well, providing food, meals and hygienic items for those in need.

“As of May 11, we have brought back face to face mental health appointments and will continue a slow path of getting all of our services back to normal,” Winheim says. “The safety of our staff and clients is the most important so we will follow all the guidelines available to us to ensure that we continue to provide services to our clients without disruption.”

EPIC’s St. Petersburg campus is located at 3050 1st Ave. S. in St. Petersburg. For more information about EPIC and to purchase tickets to its “Mamma Mia!” fundraiser, visit their website.

For the latest updates about COVID-19 and its impact on the LGBTQ communities in Tampa Bay and Central Florida, view Watermark’s frequently updated coverage here.

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