Pick up a menu and help fight HIV/AIDS

Enjoy a meal April 24 and help feed people in need through Dining Out For Life fundraiser.

AIDS Vancouver Island's James Boxshall

Dining out at select Vancouver Island restaurants on April 24 will mean a lot to those working with some of the region’s most marginalized people.

That day, 75 restaurants will be taking part in Dining Out For Life, a major annual fundraiser for AIDS Vancouver Island. Twenty-five 25 per cent of food sales proceeds will be donated to the service organization. After nine years of hosting Dining Out For Life, spokesperson James Boxshall says they have raised more than $200,000.

“It’s our largest annual fundraiser,” Boxshall said. “Last year it raised a little over $40,000 and we’re hoping people will help us do that again.”

Money raised from the single-day event goes to AIDS Vancouver Island (AVI) programs for people who are HIV-positive or who have AIDS. Boxshall said the disease affects people’s appetites and nutrition intake and AVI offers nutrition programs, basic cooking classes and even food supplies to their clients. Overall, Boxshall said money raise in each community stays in those places.

“Many people (with HIV/AIDS) are living in poverty,” he continued, “and some have health and social issues. Something as simple as sharing a meal with others is a fundamental expression of love and support.”

Patrick Simpson, manager of The Beach House restaurant on Cordova Bay Road in Saanich, says they are taking part in Dining Out For Life because it’s a worthwhile cause.

“This is our first year being involved and its a form of outreach for us,” Simpson said.

Simpson added they are telling their customers about the fundraiser and advertising it on their daily feature sheets.

“It is within our means (to help),” he said. “And if people can, they should give back to the community.”

On the Saanich Peninsula, the Spitfire Grill at the airport is taking part in Dining Out For Life, which is taking place not only on Vancouver Island but across North America on April 24. For a complete list of participating restaurants, see www.diningoutforlife.com/vancouverisland.

AIDS Vancouver Island is in its 28th year, said Boxshall. He said they want people to know how their contribution by eating out on April 24 makes a huge difference to their community.

“We want people to support the cause and care about the support systems for some of the most marginalized people in the community.”

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