For 10 years Kalamazoo and Southwest Michigan has committed to support for the local agency working to prevent the spread of HIV and offering support services to those living with HIV/AIDS.
The tenth annual Dining Out For Life fundraiser will be Thursday, April 26. And this year 36 establishments will donate at least 25 percent of their proceeds to CARES (Community AIDS Resource and Education Services).
CARES serves 11 counties in Southwest Michigan, and its mission is to maximize the quality of life for those affected by HIV and to minimize the transmission of the disease. It provides HIV case management services to people living with HIV, as well as emergency housing and financial assistance. The CARES prevention team also is constantly educating the community and testing for HIV through outreach and programs.
Today, 1.2 million people live with HIV in the United States. Of those, 15,629 live in Michigan
, and 362
live in Kalamazoo County.
Dining Out For Life provides a fun and easy way to support those living with HIV and to help prevent the disease, says Kelly Doyle, CARES Executive Director. "This is our 10-year anniversary of the event and we so appreciate the community for dining out to fight AIDS," she says.
The event helps bring new customers into local restaurants and gives diners an opportunity to make a contribution when they have breakfast, lunch, or dinner with friends.
In 2018, CARES hopes to raise $90,000 from restaurant donations and diner donations, as well as cash and in kind sponsorships.
The number of participating establishments has risen from 2017 and some are giving more generously. For example, Full City Cafe will donate 50 percent of all sales, the highest percentage donated locally. Confections with Convictions, will donate 35 percent of all sales, and Victorian Bakery will donate 35 percent of all pre-orders before noon on Wednesday, April 25, and 25 percent the day of the event.
Participation includes various meal times at establishments in five cities; Kalamazoo, Portage, Battle Creek/Springfield, Paw Paw, and Plainwell. Nine of the 36 participating establishments are managed by Millennium Restaurant Group.
"We look forward to this CARES fundraiser every year," says Linda Rouleau, General Manager of Fieldstone Grill. "We are proud to be one of the nine Millennium Group Restaurants that support this cause and give back to the community." This will be Fieldstone Grill's tenth year participating in the Dining Out For Life event.
With the exception of a small licensing fee, all money raised will be used locally. The local event is one of 60 Dining Out For Life fundraisers planned internationally. Dining Out For Life began in 1991, and CARES became part of the annual event in 2009.
Reservations are strongly encouraged at most Dining Out For Life participating restaurants. Diners should let a participating restaurant know that they are dining with them because of their support for HIV/AIDS services locally.
"Now more than ever, we appreciate the community coming together to support CARES and our mission of ending HIV in our lifetime," says Doyle, CARES Executive Director. "In our current political climate, we have seen reductions in funding for the prevention of HIV and other STDs, the removal of the Office of National AIDS Policy and the continued attack on Ryan White funding. We have come a long way to ending HIV and we can't go backward."
For a list of participating restaurants in the Kalamazoo area, visit here
. For more information about CARES, visit its website