Project Angel Heart’s Dining Out For Life could have been a casualty of the COVID-19 restaurant closures, but instead, the Denver-based nonprofit made a tweak to its annual April fundraiser: Since we can’t actually dine out this year, Project Angel Heart has swapped “out” for “in,” giving us all the social distancing-friendly Dining In For Life. So, on April 30, you can support Project Angel Heart, which prepares and delivers medically tailored meals to people living with HIV/AIDS, cancer, and heart disease, from the comfort of your own home.

That’s not the only change made to this year’s event. Participating restaurants, which typically donate 25 percent of sales for the day to the cause, won’t be asked to donate a dime this time around. Since local restaurants are struggling, Project Angel Heart wants to take a turn giving back to partner establishments by encouraging us all to order takeout or delivery—and all the profits stay with the restaurants. “We won’t be asking restaurants to donate a percentage of sales as we usually do,” says Amy Daly, director of marketing and communications for Project Angel Heart. “We just want to send love and some extra business their way, while encouraging community members to donate online to support Project Angel Heart’s home-delivered meal program.”

Here’s how to participate in the Dining In work-around: Order takeout or delivery on April 30 from one of Project Angel Heart’s restaurant partners. (You could cook for yourself, but that’s less fun and doesn’t accomplish the double-giving benefit of helping both restaurants and people in need of Project Angel Heart’s meals.) You can donate anytime to—the organization is entirely dependent upon personal contributions—but April 30 is when the real camaraderie happens. Then, spread the fun by hosting a virtual dinner party and/or posting on social media using the hashtag #DiningINForLife.

This event is Project Angel Heart’s largest fundraiser of the year—last year’s Dining Out For Life raised $360,000—and 1,200 homebound Coloradans (due to disease; not stay-at-home orders) count on the organization’s meals each week. Especially now, when it’s unsafe for many to go to grocery stores because of compromised immune systems, recipients are more reliant upon Project Angel Heart’s nutritious meal deliveries than ever. So, if you can, give generously and eat in.

“This is the first time in 26 years we won’t be dining out for Dining Out For Life, so we hope everyone will rally around the idea of dining in,” Daly says.

Allyson Reedy
Allyson Reedy
Allyson Reedy is a freelance writer and ice cream fanatic living in Broomfield.