Dining Out for Life to help fight AIDS

What if eating out could save a life?

Dining Out for Life is an event put on by the Northern Colorado Aids Project to help raise money and awareness for HIV and AIDS. The event invites restaurants to participate in the fundraiser by encouraging guests to come in and eat on the day of the event. Depending on the restaurant, they will donate a percentage of their funds to NCAP.

In Northern Colorado, 30 restaurants will be participating in DOFL. The event is Thursday and begins when the restaurants open and will continue through closing. Everyone is encouraged to attend.

A number of the restaurants involved in DOFL have been active participants in the event for a number of years. One restaurant in particular that is excited for the day’s events is prepared to bring in a lot of guests and a large shipment of what they serve best — fish.

Fish, a locally owned restaurant on Oak Street in Fort Collins, has been continuous in their involvement in DOFL for several years and are looking forward to welcoming guests for the event.

“I love Dining Out for Life,” said Janna Waldron, waitress at Fish. “I think it’s awesome to give back to the community.”

Waldron, a CSU graduate, explained that getting the word out has been a fairly easy process and they are looking forward to a strong turnout.

“A lot of our regular clientele come in and support,” Waldron said. “We have little flyers that we slip into our check presenters. We always have a good showing.”

According to Lori Daigle, regional director for NCAP, this event has taken place annually for 10 years and running.

“It’s a national event all across the US and a few cities in Canada as well,” said Daigle.

Daigle explained that this event is for more than just raising money; it’s to bring people together and to broaden the bits of knowledge that people may have.

“Fundraising and friend-raising, I like to call it,” Daigle said. “The only way to stop the spread of HIV is to educate.”

According to Daigle, 3.4 million people across the US are living with HIV/AIDS and a number of those people may not even know they have it.

She believes that with the right education and assistance, “People can really live truly healthy lives.” Daigle said for her, this event is about getting friends and family to attend the restaurants and do their part to give back to the community.

“I know for myself I’ll be going to breakfast, lunch and dinner,” Daigle said. “I’ve even invited friends to go with me.”

Another restaurant of the 30 participating is the Canyon Chop House, an independently owned restaurant on Canyon Avenue in Fort Collins.

According to Lisa Mahuron, general manager of the restaurant, any event that they can be involved in, they will be.

“The main reason that we decide to join in anything that is philanthropic is to give back to the community,” said Mahuron.

Mahuron explained that as a restaurant, they take a look at the funds they have available and do what they can for the cause.

“A lot of companies spend money on advertisement,” Mahuron said. “Rather than do that, as a company we reappropriate funds to take part in anything that is community outreach.”

The event, according to Daigle’s estimation, could bring in anywhere from $8,000 to $10,000.

For more information visit, http://www.diningoutforlife.com/northerncolorado/restaurants.

Diversity Beat Reporter Alex Steinmetz can be reached at news@collegian.com