On Dec. 2, perhaps the single most important thing SLO County residents can do is go out to eat. That's when over 25 local restaurants will participate in Eat out/Save Lives, by giving 10 percent of the entire day's profits to the AIDS Support Network's Food Pantry Program.
In its ninth year, Eat out/Save Lives can bring in as much as $6,000, all of which goes toward purchasing non-perishable food for the pantry. And that food provides thousands of meals throughout the year to the network's 145 clients.
"The pantry is our most utilized service," said Edie Cahn, executive director of the AIDS Support Network. "Many of our clients have minimal incomes and families to support. This service enables them to stretch their dollars to cover other needs."
The AIDS Support Network was started 21 years ago as an all-volunteer, grassroots response to the growing AIDS pandemic. It has since grown into the area's only nonprofit organization to provide financial, educational, and emotional support to persons living with HIV and AIDS.
In addition to helping their clients, the network staff and volunteers also provide education and outreach programs to the public. One of the program's top priorities is helping young people understand the risks of HIV and AIDS.
Scheduled for the day after World AIDS day, Eat Out/Save Lives is part of a larger goal to heighten overall awareness of the ongoing threat of HIV and AIDS. "Our attention spans are so short these days," said Cahn. "We need to remember that things don't go away just because new problems crop up."
So don't forget - on Dec. 2, you can treat yourself and support local businesses in supporting a vital community resource. Go out to dinner. Or breakfast. Or lunch. "It's a great event," said Cahn. "I usually go out for three meals that day." For more info, call 781-3660.
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