Put your money where your mouth is

Restaurants to raise money for Kitsap County HIV AIDS Foundation tomorrow.

Restaurants to raise money for Kitsap County HIV AIDS Foundation tomorrow.

When you dine out at a few restaurants tomorrow, you’ll be doing more than just supporting local business.

The last Thursday of every April marks the LifeLong AIDS Alliance’s Dining Out for Life event. Tomorrow is the day when restaurants across the country will donate a portion of their proceeds to the LifeLong AIDS Alliance and local HIV and AIDS service organizations.

“I think it’s a great program. It’s sort of the first year we’re doing it here,” said Michael Goodnow, Kitsap County HIV AIDS Foundation executive director.

Five Kitsap County restaurants are participating in Dining Out for Life. The restaurants will donate about 30 percent of their sales to the Kitsap County HIV AIDS Foundation.

“Most of our services go toward those that are pretty close to the federal poverty level,” Goodnow said.

Goodnow said the Kitsap County HIV AIDS Foundation provides medical expenses not covered by other means, helps the homeless and works with food delivery programs such as the Bremerton Food Line. The foundation also provides a nutritious monthly meal and social event for clients.

“The biggest budget item is flat out assistance,” Goodnow said. “We kind of pick up where other programs leave off.”

Goodnow said it’s hard to estimate how many people in Kitsap County are affected by HIV or AIDS because not everyone is on record with the county health district.

“It’s a pretty hard number to estimate. I would be pretty comfortable saying it’s around 200, but it could be much higher,” he said.

Goodnow said Monica’s Waterfront Bakery & Café was the only county restaurant that participated in Dining Out for Life last year through the LifeLong AIDS Alliance. The alliance then contacted the Kitsap County HIV AIDS Foundation and gave them the money earned at Monica’s Waterfront Bakery.

“Monica was the one who said she was going to do it with or without us,” Goodnow chuckled.

The Kitsap County HIV AIDS Foundation jumped onboard this year and now Monica’s Waterfront Bakery and Gandhi Indian Cuisine in Silverdale; Los Cabos Grill and Mor Mor in Poulsbo; and La Fermata in Bremerton are participating in Dining Out for Life.

Monica Downen, owner of Monica’s Waterfront Bakery & Café, said her business is donating 30 percent of tomorrow’s sales to the cause. An ambassador from the Kitsap HIV AIDS Foundation will be at Monica’s Waterfront Bakery from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. to answer questions and pass out HIV and AIDS information.

Downen said Dining Out for Life is a great way to educate the public about HIV and AIDS because many people do not know much about the disease. Education is important to prevent further spread of the illness, Downen said.

“People shouldn’t live in fear,” she said.

Downen said she thinks Monica’s Waterfront Bakery will do well tomorrow and will raise more money for the Kitsap County HIV AIDS Foundation than last year.

“This year, because we’re getting more well known in the community, I think it’s safe to say we’ll do better than last year,” Downen said.

Downen added that people do not have to eat at the participating restaurants and can simply donate money at one of the five restaurants to go toward the Dining Out for Life campaign.

“You coming in as a customer isn’t doing anything above and beyond, but it can feel like it,” Downen said. “People can come in and donate to the cause and not buy lunch or dinner.”

People dining out at participating restaurants may enter to win two first-class Alaska Airlines tickets to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. To enter, ask restaurant personnel or a Kitsap County HIV AIDS volunteer ambassador for a raffle envelope.

Goodnow said he plans to dine out tomorrow and hopes other people will follow his lead and enjoy a good meal that supports an even better cause.

“We’re just hoping as a first-year event that it’ll grow and we’ll have more restaurants participating next year,” Goodnow said.