Food Lifestyle Wellness

Dining Out For Life® Returns for 22nd Year of Raising Funds and Awareness in WNC

On Thursday, April 25, participating restaurants throughout Western North Carolina will open their doors to guests for breakfast, lunch and dinner in support of Western North Carolina AIDS Project’s (WNCAP’s) life-saving services. Now in its 22nd year, Dining Out For Life has helped WNCAP continue to provide medical case management, housing assistance, support and prevention education services for thousands of individuals impacted by HIV/AIDS.

Village Wayside Bar & Grille

“Because of challenges like lack of transportation, unstable housing or food insecurity, many of our clients would have difficulty accessing preventive care and/or treatment without outreach programs like those we offer,” says WNCAP chief executive officer Antonio Del Toro.

“But, we cannot do this work without the generosity of our local community. Dining Out For Life is a great opportunity for our community to come together to promote a healthier, safer WNC while promoting local businesses at the same time.”

Patrons who dine out at participating restaurants on April 25, will be offered an easy way to support HIV/AIDS care and prevention services, and restaurants will donate 20 percent of the day’s sales to WNCAP. The event is presented by Prestige Subaru and organized in partnership with the Asheville Independent Restaurant Association.

In 2022, 1.3 million people were newly infected with HIV, with more infections occurring in the southeastern region of the US than anywhere else in the country. “HIV continues to disproportionally affect people in marginalized and/or criminalized populations who are often overlooked or neglected,” says WNCAP development director Bellamy Crawford. “We need to test people who don’t know they have HIV and connect them with treatment. And we have to address stigma and discrimination in order to prioritize HIV services for vulnerable, underserved populations. Dining Out For Life helps us reach our community with this critical message.”

This year WNCAP is reinstating its restaurant Ambassador Program in order to place knowledgeable, fully trained WNCAP representatives in restaurants to engage with patrons. It also plans to publish a new print Dining Out For Life Restaurant Guide to highlight participating restaurants and make the list more accessible to WNC residents.

“Our local Dining Out For Life event has often resulted in fundraising totals comparable to some of our nation’s largest participating cities, including Chicago, New York and San Francisco,” says WNCAP community resource coordinator Chris Winebrenner. “We are proud of our community’s philanthropic culture, and we are truly grateful for the support local restaurants have shown us.”

WNCAP services are free, confidential and available to people across 18 counties in WNC.

To learn more about WNCAP and Dining Out For Life business sponsors, visit wncap.org/2023-dining-out-for-life.

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