April 26: Dine out, fight AIDSThis Week Monday, April 23rd, 2012
There will always be fundraisers and good causes. When you think about it, there seems to be one for everything. People get very passionate, as they should, about their charities and some industries today even have created their own.
This year, we will celebrate the 6th annual event called Dining Out For Life. This fundraiser involves a huge participation of volunteers, corporate sponsors and restaurants. Dining Out is now produced in 60 cities throughout the United States and Canada and there is no end in sight.
Every year, more than 3,000 restaurants donate a portion of their proceeds from one special day of dining. All the money raised in your city stays in your city to benefit licensed AIDS service agencies. More than 3 million dollars a year is raised, and this year an estimated 4 million is expected, all on just one day of dining.
This is such a great cause and certainly one that is dear to me and several of my friends in the industry. When an entire industry of food and beverage professionals can come together on one day throughout the country, it is truly remarkable. With more than 60 outstanding HIV/Aids service organizations throughout North America, no time is better than now to help support them.
Thursday April 26, make yourself a reservation and you will be supporting this cause by eating and drinking – and we all know how much our community like to do both. Even a portion of proceeds from your drinks at Mo’s and Rich’s that night will go to Dining Out For Life, so drink up.
This week, I had the great pleasure of talking with Ted Allen, who not only is the host of Food Network’s Chopped but, since 2008, is also a spokesperson for Dining Out. Along with fellow spokespeople Pam Grier and Daisy Martinez, they tirelessly get the word out every year.
In my conversation with Ted, I was able to really connect with his passion for this organization. He really wanted to stress the need to continue to support HIV/AIDS organizations. We all see ads in magazines with buff and healthy gay men living with HIV, which is great, but it still is more serious than just taking a pill. As Ted pointed out, the largest group being infected is women of color, so it isn’t just a gay men’s health crisis anymore.
I asked him what he thought of the gay youth of today, as so many haven’t seen or know much about the devastation of the ’80s and ’90s. He said, “There are many great role models today; children and teenagers are able to learn from healthy examples. Neil Patrick Harris, and his gorgeous boyfriend David, are perfect examples.” I couldn’t agree more.
If you look at the last decades, HIV/AIDS has greatly affected the restaurant community. As many know, the food and beverage industry has always welcomed and supported the LGBT community and many of us chose or fell into our career paths because of it. Ted made a great statement that I truly support, as he feels the HIV/AIDS crisis helped fuel the industry. In my closing conversation with him, I asked him what was one thing that he wanted our community to know and he simply said, “You are doing something great just by going … and it doesn’t cost you anything more.”
For more information about Dining Out For Life, visit their Web site, diningoutforlife.com. You can make a reservation and find all the great San Diego restaurants that are participating. With more than 100 places to choose from, and any meal period too, it’s a great cause to come out and support.
In our community, we have all been affected one way or another with the devastation of HIV/AIDS. This one simple day is a time to give back, remember the ones we have lost and loved, and look to the future of finding a cure. We have, as a community, made some great progress in the last several years. With more and more states passing marriage laws and companies recognizing domestic partnerships, we are seeing a better day.
Let’s continue our path of progress and help make the world, not just our community, a safer and healthier place to live. And what better way to do that than by simply doing something we all love to do anyway: Eat and drink.
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