INDIANAPOLIS — Local restaurants are teaming up for The Damien Center's 25th Annual Dining Out for Life event on Thursday, April 25. Diners can enjoy a meal at one of the more than 65 participating restaurants, bars and breweries at any time on Thursday to help support the organization's mission to end HIV.
The Damien Center is Indiana's oldest and largest AIDS service organization. The Damien Center is a resource, provider, and advocate for comprehensive HIV care, prevention, education and more.
The money raised during Dining Out for Life supports the programs and services offered by the organization, which helps over 4,000 Hoosiers living with or affected by HIV every year, according to The Damien Center.
"Whether someone needs emergency housing, food from the food pantry, medical services, or a free and confidential HIV test, the money we raise on April 25th will directly support client care," the organization's spokesperson said.
For many in the community, Dining Out for Life has become a staple event. "People anxiously wait for their full list of restaurants to be posted so they can plan their day eating out. Many people will eat out more than once (sometimes even three times!) throughout the day because they know they are supporting a great cause," The Damien Center spokesperson said.
According to The Damien Center, about 1.1 million people in the United States were living with HIV at the end of 2015, the most recent year this information was available. Of those people, around 15 percent (1 in 7) do not know they are infected. By 2016, new HIV infections were estimated to be at 39,782 in the United States.
In Indiana a total of 12,635 persons were living with HIV/AIDS in 2017. Most people living with HIV/AIDS in Indiana are concentrated in the urban areas of the state, however, rural areas can also be affected. The majority live in central Indiana and the Indianapolis Metropolitan area.
Participating establishments range between eight Indianapolis areas: Downtown, Eastside, Greenwood, Fountain Square, Lawrence, Midtown, Northside, and Old North Side.
New this year is The Damien Center's partnership with several breweries, taprooms, and distilleries across central Indiana. Portions of all sales from these locations will also support The Damien Center and expand participants options.
To take part in the action on social media, The Damien Center asks that participants use the hashtags: #DOFL317, #DineOutEndHIV, #DiningOutForLife and tag them using the handle @DamienCenter.