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Reducing The Stigma: Dining Out For Life Benefits HIV Treatment, Prevention

Pictured are diners at Labyrinth Coffee Co. during the Dining Out For Life Fundraiser on Tuesday. P-J photo by Katrina Fuller

Meals in downtown Jamestown curbed more than just appetites on Tuesday as local restaurants participated in Evergreen Health’s Dining Out For Life fundraiser.

The annual event gave residents the chance to dine for a good cause, with participating restaurants donating between 25 % to 50% of meal proceeds to Evergreen Health Services, its efforts to combat HIV/AIDS and provide services to those living with the disease.

Rob Baird, Evergreen Health director of advancement, said this is the fundraiser’s 19th annual event. Due to the pandemic, the fundraiser had some issues with restaurant participation the result of staffing and other limitations. However, Labyrinth Coffee Company, Brazil and Forte were all participants this year.

Each restaurant was staffed with ambassadors to inform diners of the fundraiser and answer any questions.

“All of the funds donated by our generous local restaurants, as well as any separate donations received from restaurant diners, go directly to Evergreen Health’s HIV services, providing care and support for people in our community,” Baird said. “Reducing stigma and raising money for HIV services like testing, care and treatment is as simple as making a reservation for breakfast, lunch or dinner at one of your favorite local restaurants and enjoying a meal with your family or friends.”

The event took place across Western New York, including various areas such as Jamestown, Buffalo and Niagara Falls, Baird said.

“Evergreen has a number of HIV supportive services and all the funds that are raised go to those various programs, whether it’s nutrition, housing or transportation,” he said. “The money that’s raised goes directly to those services. This fundraiser is important because it raises vital funds that can be used for these services offered here at Evergreen.”

In addition to contributing by purchasing a meal, Dining Out For Life participants can also make separate donations to support HIV prevention and treatment services, Baird said. Those who donate to Evergreen Health’s HIV services between Oct. 12-31 will be entered to win one of several raffle prizes. Donations can be made on Evergreen’s website at evergreenhs.org.

Evergreen Health is located at 320 Prather Ave. in Jamestown. The program provides various services including HIV treatment and care; LGBTQ health and transgender specialty care; sexual health services; drug user health services, and more. For more information, visit evergreenhs.org. Additional information about Dining Out For Life is available at www.DiningOutForLife.com/WNY.

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