BUFFALO. N.Y. (WIVB) — The 19th annual Dining Out for Life event has been happening all week in Western New York. It’s a chance to enjoy a meal out while raising money for services for people with HIV.
More than 50 restaurants are donating at least 25% of one day’s food sales from this week to Evergreen Health. Evergreen offers housing, transportation, and health care options for people with HIV.
Patrick Ryan owns Fat Bob’s Smokehouse and has been participating in Dining Out For Life for 17 years.
“It’s just always been a tradition almost at this point,” said Ryan. “We have employees that use their services over the years and it’s just an easy ‘yes’ for us.”
Ryan said they did 200 covers Wednesday night, not counting takeout. Fat Bob’s donated 50% of food sales.
Rob Baird from Evergreen Health said the event is about more than the money.
“It also raises awareness. There’s been a lot of advancements in medication or folks with HIV but there’s still quite a bit of stigma surrounding the disease,” he said. “We do get quite a few people who just happened to be dining out, have no idea the event was taking place, so it’s just a great opportunity to educate folks.”
Friday was the last day of the fundraiser and Breadhive was the final restaurant participating, donating 25% of its breakfast and lunch proceeds.
Baird said he’s grateful to all the restaurants that participated this year.
“As a member of the LGBTQ community I’ve seen what HIV has done in the gay community over the years so this event has always been near to my heart,” he said.
A newcomer to the event is Peter Deeb who owns Poppa Pete’s. He participated in the main event Tuesday and says he will definitely be helping out in the future.
“My family member has HIV, my brother,” Deeb said. “So it’s nice to be part of something like that to raise awareness…for the generations to come that are not aware of STDs or HIV.”
The goal is to raise $50,000 and Baird said he’s confident they’ll hit that goal.
Anyone that wasn’t able to make it out to the event this week can still donate online.