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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Dozens of Cities to Host Dining Out for Life Events

More than 3,500 restaurants in 60 cities across North America will participate in this year’s Dining Out for Life.
More than 3,500 restaurants in 
60 cities across North America 
will participate in this year’s 
Dining Out for Life.
By Roger Brigham -

In the 30 years of the AIDS onslaught; a battery of group efforts have been used to fight back, from awareness and prevention programs to fund-raising runs and walks. One of the biggest nationwide annual efforts takes place again this week with Dining Out for Life, in which roughly 250,000 diners in 60 cities across North America will dig into the vittles at more than 3,500 restaurants to enjoy a good meal and help raise money for HIV/AIDS services.

Dining Out for Life brings national brand recognition to local fundraising efforts, with a percentage of each meal tab being going to a local HIV/AIDS service organization. In Boston’s inaugural Dining Out for Life last year, for example, nine restaurants participated and raised money for Cambridge Cares About AIDS. That organization later merged with AIDS Action Committee, which this year will be the beneficiary from the meals served at 25 restaurants.

Most Dining Out for Life events will be on Thursday, April 28, but there are some notable exceptions. Atlanta, for example, will hold its event on Wednesday, April 27. Vancouver held its benefit in March. And California’s Sonoma County will hold its event on Dec. 1.

Diners can visit the Dining Out For Life Web site to find the event in their area, see which participating restaurants in different areas are serving which meals, what percentage of the bill goes towards HIV services, who the local sponsors are and make reservations.

Dining Out for Life spokeswoman Nancy Becker said the event raised more than $4 million nationally last year and hopes to top that this year--crucial dollars as agencies scramble for funds.

"With so many recent and more imminent cuts to AIDS funding, it’s now crucial for everyone to help," Becker told EDGE.

Restaurants in Reno, Nev.; Charleston, S.C.; Chattanooga, Tenn.; New York’s Hudson Valley and Kansas City, Mo., will participate in Dining Out for Life for the first time this year. In British Columbia, Kamloops will host its first Dining Out for Life event this Thursday; Vancouver Island teamed up with Vancouver to host an event last month. Spokane, Wash., will not participate in this year’s Dining Out for Life.

Northern Nevada HOPES, a clinical and social services agency for HIV/AIDS treatment, will benefit from the inaugural Reno Dining Out for Life. Fifty-three restaurants throughout Nevada, including 27 Port of Subs locations, will donate 15 percent or more of their tab to HOPES. Several restaurants are donating 20 or 25 percent of the tab, and one, Bricks, will donate a whopping 50 percent of the check.

Dining Out for Life began in Philadelphia in 1991. More than 200 restaurants in the city and Delaware Valley donate a third of their meal tabs to half a dozen AIDS agencies: ActionAIDS, Dooley House, AIDS Delaware, Family and Community Service of Delaware County, Planned Parenthood Association of Bucks County and Planned Parenthood of Chester County. Last year’s Dining Out for Life generated roughly $250,000 for local HIV/AIDS service organizations.

Ninety-three restaurants in the San Francisco area will donate a fourth of their tabs to the STOP AIDS Project, AIDS Project East, the Allen Temple Baptist Church AIDS Ministry, the California Prostitutes Education Project, the HIV Education and Prevention Project, the Rainbow Community Center of Contra Costa County and Women Organized to Respond to Life-threatening Disease.

36 Los Angeles-area restaurants will participate, with proceeds benefiting benefit Project Angel Food. Roughly 125 restaurants in San Diego will raise funds to help the LGBT Center’s
HIV/AIDS services and prevention programs.

Care Resource will benefit from the proceeds from 14 Miami area restaurants. Nearly 70 Chicago restaurants will participate in the Windy City’s Dining Out for Life to benefit Edge Alliance.

Roger Brigham, a freelance writer and communications consultant, is the San Francisco Editor of EDGE. He lives in Oakland with his husband, Eduardo.

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