Health & Medicine

Dining Out for Life helps support local AIDS work

Every year on the Wednesday after Thanksgiving, AVOL hosts Dining Out for Life, an event that combines dining out and fighting AIDS.

Locally owned restaurants donate a minimum of 25 percent of their proceeds for the day to AVOL — AIDS Volunteers Inc. Participants may register for prizes by filling out the donation envelope at the restaurant where they eat. For donations of $25 or more, donors will receive a "20 percent-off Tuesdays" card that will get them an extra discount at participating Dining Out for Life restaurants on any Tuesday in 2013.

"Dining Out for Life is a fun event that the community loves, but it also allows us to create some dialogue around HIV/AIDS in Kentucky in a very public way," said Mark Royse, executive director of AVOL.

The event takes 150 volunteers and more than 1,500 hours to organize; last year it raised about $70,000, which AVOL used to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS and empower those affected, Royse said.

"Dining Out for Life has become our signature event," said Brian Slate, AVOL's resource coordinator. "It's inclusive, easy to participate. All you do is grab your friends, go out to eat and have the chance to win great prizes."

AVOL serves more than 550 low-income men, women and families living with HIV/AIDS in 72 counties in Central and Eastern Kentucky. Since last year, AVOL has conducted more than 1,000 HIV tests.

"This year marks 25 years on the front lines of HIV/AIDS in Central and Eastern Kentucky for AVOL," said Royse. "AVOL was founded around a kitchen table by a group of friends who wanted a way to respond to the AIDS epidemic in Lexington.

"Every day in Kentucky a new person is infected with HIV. HIV affects men and women in each of the 72 counties AVOL serves in Central and Eastern Kentucky."