Apr 252011
Authors: Jesse Benn

Usually, making a donation to a particular cause requires writing a check or volunteering some precious time. On Thursday, all it takes is the lift of a fork.

Dining Out For Life is a charitable program taking place across the country on April 28 where participating restaurants donate a portion of the days’ earnings. Donations will help raise money and awareness for different licensed agencies –– like the Northern Colorado AIDS Project.
Fort Collins has a long list of restaurants participating in the program that fit a range of budgets, from The Melting Pot to either of Mug’s locations. For a full list of participating restaurants go to: http://www.diningoutforlife.com/northerncolorado/participating.

Those feeling hungry and charitable could schedule a whole day of meals around participating locations, starting with a breakfast burrito at La Luz in Old Town, a quick lunch at Mugs and ending with dinner at Austin’s American Grill.

McCabe Callahan, the owner of Mugs, was especially eager to take part in the fundraiser for NCAP in part because their executive director,
Jeffrey Basinger, is a regular at the restaurant.

“Jeff is a part of the Mugs’ community so we were excited to be able to help out,” Callahan said.

Mugs is donating 10 percent of its food and beverage sales from the day for both locations, which would essentially wipe out his profit margin, according to Callahan.

“I’m hoping it’s a busy day and we can help raise some good money,” Callahan said. “We won’t profit much from the day, so it’s really about getting donations in.”

The proceeds from Thursday will be used to further NCAP’s mission “to improve the quality of life for people living with HIV/AIDS and to help reduce the spread and stigma of the disease.”

Nordy’s, a local barbeque restaurant taking part in the fundraising event, found it to be a natural fit.

“We do a lot of charity events throughout the fall and spring so when they approached us to take part we said, ‘of course,’” said Shannon Brown, Nordy’s bar and service manager.

La Luz Mexican Grill’s owner Peter Schultz said he’s thrilled to take part of Dining Out For Life and to support the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.

La Luz didn’t participate in the fundraising event last year but not because of a lack of interest.

“They didn’t ask us to take part last year,” Schultz said.

This year Schultz expressed interest through a friend and got involved.

“It’s just an important thing to do,” Schultz said.

Dining Out For Life was established in Philadelphia in 1991 and takes place annually throughout the country benefiting different agencies like NCAP across the country. Last year’s Northern Colorado event raised around $28,000 and nearly $4 million is raised nationally each year.

Staff writer Jesse Benn can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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