On the last Thursday of April, Asheville, North Carolina, will be abuzz as more than 100 restaurants open their doors and serve up meals that will feed, and sustain. But on this night, their efforts will bring comfort to many in need who will not be present, as they give 20% of their profits to support the Western North Carolina AIDS Project (WNCAP). And lives are made better.
This is Asheville’s Dining Out For Life, an event that has brought in $1.4 million over the past 13 years to help those afflicted by AIDS. Those donations have enabled WNCAP to expand its outreach and education. Harry Brown, chairman of the event, which ranks number one in funds raised per capita nationwide, claims the nation’s second largest Dining Out For Life volunteer force (240 “ambassadors”). Last year, they raised a record $176,000.
It all happens with the help of sponsors like Prestige Subaru, a presenting sponsor for four years and the first Subaru retailer in America to be involved in a Dining Out For Life event. This year, Prestige Subaru committed to doubling their previous level of involvement with the 2015 Dining Out For Life event under the Subaru Love Promise initiative.
“It’s always been in my heart,” says Prestige Subaru owner Tony Pelle, who lost someone he knew to the disease. Pelle also sees how important Dining Out For Life is to his Asheville neighbors. “People gather around it,” he says.
While it only happens on the last Thursday of April – April 30 this year – something else happens all year long because of it: Letters of gratitude pour in to WNCAP from those it has served. Often, they say simply this: “You saved my life. Thank you. Thank you for helping.”