WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — If you've been looking for a way to give back to the community while enjoying quality time with your loved ones, this is your chance.
Local restaurants are doing their part to give back to a vulnerable community: people living with HIV or AIDS.
Organizers at Compass Community Center in Lake Worth Beach told WPTV that this is a win-win.
"This is a chance for friends and family to get together to laugh, to love, to talk, to have that interaction, but also help people at the same time," said Michael Riordan, director of media at the organization. "It doesn't get better than that."
Riordan said this is an easy way to give back to a community that's growing dangerously fast.
"Unfortunately, South Florida is seeing one of the highest rates of infection of HIV on the planet," Riordan said. "That's a lot."
Marketing coordinator Lety Gonzalez also commented on the severe need for this funding, especially locally.
"Particularly in Palm Beach County, we have about 8,500 people living with HIV/AIDS," said Gonzalez.
Eight restaurants are participating this year, and they've already committed to donating to the center.
So where exactly will this money end up? Riordan explained.
"We hope to use the money, one to educate people and to prevent people from getting HIV, but if they do have it, we can offer them a variety of services, including food assistance, housing assistance, and those kinds of things. That's where the money is going," Riordan said. "It goes directly back to the community."
Here's a list of participating restaurants:
- Don Ramon (West Palm Beach, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.)
- Hullabaloo (West Palm Beach, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.)
- Howley’s Restaurant (West Palm Beach, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.)
- Kapow Noodle Bar (West Palm Beach and Boca Raton, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.)
- Dada (Delray Beach, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.)
- The Mad Hatter (Lake Worth Beach, all day)
- Subculture Coffee (Boca Raton and Palm Beach Gardens, 9 a.m to noon)
WPTV also spoke to the restaurant staff about why they're participating.
Cornelio Severino at Kapow Noodle Bar said dining and community go hand-in-hand.
"The beauty of a restaurant in general is bringing people of all walks of life. The rich, the middle class, everybody," Severino said. "So just sitting at a bar and talking to a complete stranger, knowing about their life, what's going on, you open your eyes a little bit and see outside of your everyday being."
Compass said it has raised about $30,000 for this cause since it started participating three years ago.