Restaurants Participate in "Dinning Out for Life"

Proceeds donated from "Dining Our for Life" go to the Desert AIDS Project

The flyer for "Dining Our for Life"

On Thursday, April 25, more than 3,000 restaurants in more than 50 cities across America participated in “Dining Out for Life,” an annual fundraising event in which a portion of proceeds from every dining check is donated to the licensed AIDS service agency in their city.

In Palm Springs, restaurants Lulu California Bistro, Acqua Pazza California Bistro, Rio Azul Mexican Bar & Grill and TRIO Restaurant all participated in “Dining Our for Life” to help raise money for the Desert AIDS Project.

The Desert AIDS Project provides direct services to people living with HIV/AIDS in Coachella Valley, works to prevent new infections through education and provides free and confidential HIV testing.

“The Desert AIDS Project is one of our personal favorite charities,” said Lulu and Acqua Pazza General Manager, Willie Rhine. “They do amazing work providing testing, treatment, counseling, transportation, housing and financial assistance to people living with HIV/AIDS.”

To generate a high donation amount by getting more people to eat the Lulu, a participating restaurant since 2008, and Acqua Pazza, Rhine said that both restaurants advertised their participation with the program through social media and flyers.

“We served over 2,000 guests between the two restaurants and were able to donate over $16,000 to the Desert AIDS Project,” Rhine said.

This year was Rio Azul Mexican Bar & Grill’s third year participating in the “Dining Our for Life” program.

“When we were approached, we immediately told the Desert AIDS Project to sign us up,” said Rio Azul Mexican Bar & Grill Chef and Owner Ernesto Gastellum. “We believe in giving back to our community and this is a perfect way for us to show our support to help fight this worthy cause!”

Gastellum said Rio Azul Mexican Bar & Grill was able to triple their donation numbers from the first year by sending out email blasts promoting their participation in the program to their online database, utilized social media, promoting in the restaurant using the branding materials provided to them and had the staff promote the event to customers.

Rio Azul was able to donate over $1,000 to the Desert AIDS Project.

“We had a very successful night,” Gastellum said.

TRIO Restaurant has been participating in “Dining Out for Life” for four years and has raised more funds for the Desert AIDS Project than any other restaurant.

“TRIO is very much part of the community and this is a huge way to give back,” said TRIO Owner and General Manager, Tony Marchese.

By donating a staggering 60% of all the 810 checks served on April 25 for “Dining Out for Life,” TRIO was able to raise $13,000 for the Desert AIDS Project.

“It means that we will be helping hundreds of folks with HIV/AIDS,” Marchese said.

The “Dining Our for Life” slogan is “Do Good. Eat Well. Dine Out and Fight AIDS!” On April 25, plenty of people in Palm Springs did just that.

“The ‘Dining Our for Life’ program is a win – win for everybody,” Rhine said, “Our guests experience great food and great service knowing that a percentage is going to help the Desert AIDS Project.”