Dining Out For Life supports Tampa Bay HIV/AIDS efforts

By : Felicia Roopchand
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TAMPA BAY – Dining Out For Life is a charity event both your stomach and your wallet can get behind. In cities all across the world on April 27, selected restaurants will be participating in the event by donating at least 25 percent of their proceeds from that day to the licensed HIV/AIDS service agency in their city. In exchange for their financial support, restaurants are listed in a citywide marketing campaign in an effort to increase customer traffic. The Tampa Bay area will be among the various cities included.

“You know, Gulfport kind of comes in with a vengeance. All the restaurants in Gulfport participate and we’ve got a couple of new restaurants coming on over towards the Tampa side. I think we’re going to have a really good year.” said Joy Winheim, executive director of Empath Partners in Care (EPIC).

This is Winheim’s first of year getting to help with the organizational process of Dining Out for Life.

“It’s been really exciting. I’ve gotten an opportunity to go out to some of the restaurants, and I met the organizers down in Gulfport. They have their own group that helps us organize down there and they’re a force to be reckoned with.” Winheim says.

The Tampa Bay area currently has about 15 restaurants officially signed up for the event, but Winheim says they are expecting up to at least 35 participants.

As for the meals themselves, each restaurant lists on the website (DineOutTB.org) whether they would be participating for breakfast, lunch or dinner or any combination of the three. Many restaurants are going above and beyond, donating more than the 25 percent requirement. The Frog Pond in Redington Beach is donating 100 percent of its proceeds that day.

“[The funds] go directly back into the organization to help support the programs that we run. So it’ll help our case management programs; it’ll help our food pantry; it just kind of helps where we need it,” Winheim says.

There are over 50 organizations that participate across the United States and Canada. The organization will get the proceeds from whichever restaurants are participating in their vicinity.

Fortunately, there are more ways to help than just dining out.

“We do send out ambassadors to the restaurants that are participating. The ambassadors will be there to talk about EPIC and the programs and services that we have, so if people are dining and they want to do more, they can donate right there at that restaurant that day,” explains Winheim.

To find out how you can volunteer to be a Dining Out For Life ambassador, and to find a full list of restaurants participating, visit DineTB.org.

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