Q&A: Project Angel Heart CEO Talks Dining Out for Life Event

Dine out on April 26 and let your proceeds go to meals for those in need! Courtesy Project Angel Heart.

Dine out on April 26 at select restaurants and  your proceeds go to meals for those in need. Courtesy Project Angel Heart

Making a difference can be as simple as going out to eat.

That’s the idea behind Dining Out for Life. On April 26, more than 230 restaurants and breweries in Denver and Boulder will donate a portion of their profits to Project Angel Heart, a local nonprofit that prepares and delivers medically tailored meals for people living with life-threatening illnesses.

We chatted with Project Angel Heart CEO Erin Pulling to learn how Dining Out for Life works and how you can participate (spoiler alert: it’s easy!).

How does the event work? What’s new this year?
“We partner with restaurants who agree to donate 25 percent of sales on one day from breakfast, lunch and dinner. These funds then go specifically to our HIV and AIDS meal delivery program, and we depend on these to deliver to people throughout the year. We care about diners having a lot of options—you can browse restaurants by region, cuisine or meal on our website. You’ll also be able to enter to win a $2,500 King Soopers gift card. It’s a great evening to decide to treat yourself and invite friends and coworkers to come along. Just make sure you make your reservations ahead of time.

“The event has been going strong for 24 years, over which we’ve raised $5.5 million. This year, though, we have a lot of restaurants donating their food and bar sales together for the first time, so we’re hoping to raise $300,000.” 

What are some of the restaurant highlights this year? Any favorites?
“This year, we have a lot of new restaurants on board, which we’re really excited about, including Bindery, Cake and Crumbs Bakery, Jack Rabbit Slims and Mas Kaos Pizzeria and Taqueria. There are also 10 participating breweries, which is a particularly fun way to support us with a quick drink after dinner. Another great addition is that we have every location of Anthony’s Pizza participating this year, which is great since you can find one in any neighborhood. Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield is our healthy dining sponsor this year—they’ll be promoting healthy dining tips to prove that you can still dine out and eat healthy.

“I have so many favorites that it’s hard to choose … Racines is always my go-to, though. They’ve been on board with DOFL every single year. In fact, Project Angel Heart’s very first meal was a pan of their lasagna!”

What makes Project Angel Heart special?
“We deliver meals at no cost to 1,200 people per week in the Denver and Colorado Springs metro areas; this year we served up a total of 350,000 meals. As our clients are living with diseases like cancer, HIV, heart disease and kidney disease, they often have nowhere else to turn, and are, without exception, going through the hardest time of their life. We’re helping to keep them out of the hospital and living independently. Without us, many of them wouldn’t even be eating. We make sure all of our meals are nutritious and medically tailored to each person’s necessary diet—we’ve prepared every dish in 18-20 different ways.

“That’s part of what makes Dining Out for Life so special, too; over 230 restaurants partner because they see the importance of the cause—they know how crucial nutrition is. It’s always heartwarming to see so many of them deciding to partner, as 25 percent is a very generous endeavor for them. I love that this is a day when the Denver community can come together for a great cause, and support it in such an easy way since we all need to eat!”

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