Dine Out and Make a Difference

On Thursday, April 25, your dining dollars will make a big difference to a lot of people—if you’re eating at the right places.

Dining Out For Life will involve more than 30 local restaurants that are committed to making our community better, including Bottega Café, Crestwood Coffee Co., El Barrio Restaurante Y Bar, 5 Point Public Oyster House, Slice Pizza & Brew (in Lakeview and Vestavia), Ted’s Restaurant, Bistro V, MELT Avondale, Yo’ Mama’s Restaurant, Birmingham Breadworks, Chez Lulu and Chez Fonfon. They are teaming up with AIDS Alabama to bring awareness about HIV in our community as well as raise funds for AIDS Alabama’s HIV services, prevention initiatives and housing programs.

Dining Out for Life is an international event that has been taking place for more than 20 years. Birmingham is celebrating its 10th year of participation.

My friend Caroline Bundy, director of development for AIDS Alabama, says:  “It’s pretty amazing the way this event has grown over the years. Though Dining Out For Life takes place in 60 cities in the U.S. and Canada, all the money that is raised here in Birmingham stays here, helping people living with HIV and their families in our community.”

Each participating restaurant has committed to contributing at least 25 percent of the day’s food and beverage sales from breakfast, lunch and/or dinner. Many are contributing more.

Some of the first to sign up this year included Fig Tree Café (35% of lunch and dinner sales), Avondale Common House & Distillery (35% of lunch and dinner sales) and Bamboo on 2nd (35% of dinner sales) as well as Moss Rock Tacos & Tequila (25% of lunch, dinner and all-day catering sales), Vecchia Pizzeria & Mercato (25% of lunch, dinner and all-day catering sales) and Big Bad Breakfast (25% of breakfast and lunch sales).

For a complete list of restaurants and when they are serving, go here.

“Every year, over 30 restaurants participate,” Caroline told me. “Over the past 10 years, more than $350,000 has been raised to support the programs of AIDS Alabama. These funds enable us to provide critical programs and services that include housing, supportive services, HIV testing and prevention education efforts to thousands of Alabamians.”

AIDS Alabama devotes energy and resources statewide to helping those with HIV/AIDS live healthy, independent lives. The organization works to prevent the spread of HIV and to meet the needs of Alabama’s HIV-positive population, providing safe, affordable housing to low-income people living with HIV and their family members. Additionally, AIDS Alabama’s prevention education and outreach efforts provide free and confidential HIV screening,

Currently, more than 13,000 Alabamians are living with HIV/AIDS, and per the Centers for Disease Control, Birmingham ranks 17th in the nation for the number of new HIV diagnoses. Though there have been many medical advances that make HIV manageable as a chronic disease, HIV rates in the South remain high and within epidemic proportions—making AIDS Alabama’s prevention, transportation, mental health, and housing services vital.

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