Dine Out for My Life: AIDS-Education Advocate Jeff Alexander

"We need to educate everyone on prevention and we need to support the organizations that are making a change in the lives of those affected."

Every Thursday, between now and Dining Out for Life (DOFL), on April 25, G Philly will profile a different local who has been affected by HIV/AIDS. This week, committed AIDS-education advocate Jeff Alexander.

My name is … Jeff Alexander

I am from … a small midwest [Pennsylvania] town called Mechanicsburg,  great town where you know practically everyone there.

What do you do for work? I am an assistant vice president at Beneficial Bank in Center City.

How has HIV/AIDS affected your life? I have several friends who are HIV-positive and who have been living with AIDS for years. I have lost too many friends to this disease. I have always tried to be an advocate for AIDS education, prevention and management. I’ve been a Buddy volunteer at ActionAIDS for 10 years and I serve on their Board of Directors as vice president. I have been an ActionAIDS Buddy for a man in Philadelphia for 10 years. Our relationship is rewarding and gratifying; he’s like a little brother to me. He has affected my life like no one else. I honestly think I am more lucky to know him than he is to know me.

The biggest thing I have learned from my experience with HIV/AIDS is … that the epidemic is not over. Yes, people are living longer and healthier lives but there is still so much work that needs to be done. Unfortunately, there are many folks struggling with HIV, [who] are in desperate need of help, support and services. We need to help those who are living with this disease, we need to educate everyone on prevention and we need to support the organizations that are making a change in the lives of individuals who are affected. ActionAIDS is that organization. They are there for these people, and I am committed to be there for ActionAIDS to make sure they have the support to get that important work done.

My favorite restaurant participating in Dining Out for Life is … Poco’s Restaurant in Doylestown, Pa. I have been an ambassador for Dining out for Life for nine years and this will be my first at Poco’s. … [The establishment] understands Dining Out and they embrace what it stands for. They make the evening special for all their customers and they help raise additional funds for ActionAIDS. Their energy and their commitment is beyond others, they know how to make Dining Out a memorable and fun experience. The atmosphere there is dynamic!

You should make a reservation to take part in this year’s Ding Out for Life, because … it’s a great night and a fun evening. You are raising money for a great cause and you are helping our friends who are battling AIDS. You are making a difference in the community just by having dinner (and dessert!) with friends and family.

This year’s edition of DOFL comprises 150 restaurants and nine food trucks that will donate 33 percent of that day’s earnings to local HIV-fighting organization, ActionAIDS. For more info on participating restaurants and to make reservations, click here.

Other Dine Out for My Life participants: