Dining Out For Life seeks volunteers for annual HIV/AIDS fundraiser
Goal to raise $150k
Published Thursday, 25-Mar-2010 in issue 1161
Dining Out For Life is seeking 150 volunteers to become ambassadors for its annual fundraiser on April 29.
This year Dining Out For Life – the fundraiser to benefit the San Diego LGBT Community Center’s HIV/AIDS programs – has set out to have 100 restaurants help raise $150,000 for The Center’s HIV and AIDS programs.
“Over the last three years, our ambassadors have truly made a difference and been a key element in the success of this event,” Donnie Luehring, Dining Out For Life event manager said. “We need friendly and outgoing people who want to be part of this incredible day to volunteer. Becoming an ambassador is a great way for friends, family members and co-workers to volunteer together.”
Luehring said he needs 150 more volunteers for the event and expects to surpass the number of restaurants needed.
“We have about 100 volunteers up and running,” Luehring said. “A lot of them are returning veterans and people who are either volunteers for The Center or have seen our posts on craigslist.”
Michael Brierley and John Carey were inspired to get involved with Dining Out For Life after attending the inaugural fundraiser in 2006. They have inspired many others to support HIV services and programs by volunteering as ambassadors for Dining Out For Life at Martinis Above Fourth. This year marks the duo’s third year of participation.
“We really like the owners and staff of Martinis and we try to support the events that they host. They do a lot of charitable events. When we attended Dining Out For Life the first year, we knew we could really help with this event,” said Brierley. “Martinis is ready to do anything to give back to the community. That makes it a great place and a perfect place for ‘Dining Out for Life.’”
As Dining Out For Life ambassadors, Brierley and Carey also help promote the fundraiser to their personal network of friends and family.
“As restaurant ambassadors, we want to make sure the restaurant is full on April 29 so we reach out to people on Facebook, post fliers and we talk it up,” Brierley explained. “Personally promoting the event really helps get people in the door – and that makes the event even more enjoyable for us.”
All Dining Out For Life volunteers must attend an hour and a half orientation before April 29.
“Their job is to be our ‘host/ess with the mostess’ who will thank everybody for being there, and invite everyone they know including their friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors to the location,” Luehring said. “We want the restaurants packed to ensure we will have a very successful night and our minimum 25 percent donation our restaurants have agreed to will be really nice and sizable.”
Volunteering as an ambassador for Dining Out For Life gave Brierley and Carey a new, fun and significant way to support local HIV/AIDS service programs while having a good time at one of their favorite places.
“We try to support all the events that help provide HIV services in San Diego,” Brierley continued. “We do AIDS Walk every year because we have friends who been impacted by AIDS. The best part about being involved is that everybody is fun to work and be with.”
Luehring said he thinks the six figure goal is feasible.
“In 2007, we thought we’d be happy with 25 restaurants. We ended up with 32 restaurants and raised $43,000. Last year we had 82 restaurants and raised just over $105,000,” Luehring said, noting it is still important to find a cure for HIV and AIDS.
“The Center has been there from the get go, we were there at the beginning and we’ll be there until there’s not a need for us anymore,” Luehring affirmed.
Luehring described the Dining Out For Life experience as magical.
“They bring out their family and friends and invite people they haven’t seen for a long time,” Luehring said. “I get people that come back and talk about how much fun it is and we get people that come back year after year to be involved with us.”
Orientations take place at The Center, located at 3909 Centre Street in Hillcrest. For more information, visit www.thecentersd.org or call Donnie Luehring at 619-692-2077 ext. 246.
Dining Out For Life volunteer orientations:
Saturday, March 27, noon to 1:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 2, noon to 1:30 p.m.
Tuesday, April 6, 7-8:30 p.m.