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April 18, 2012

Giving Comes Full Circle In Washington, DC

During her lunch break,Sondra West will be volunteering as a Dining Out For Life Ambassador. That’s right, she’s utilizing a break from her full time job to support Washington, DC AIDS Service Organization, Food & Friends. What makes her work so hard? “My goal,” says West, “is to help spread the word about Food & Friends and the work they do.”

Howard Casaway IV
Though this is West’s first year as an ambassador, she is no stranger to working with the local ASO. For nearly ten years Sonda West has helped prepare food, raise money and, as she puts it, spread the word about what the organization does. Food & Friends provides meals to those in need, and groceries to those who have the ability to cook for themselves. “Some patients are diabetic, so you need to watch for that. Others are on a low sodium diet. And there are children, too, who you’re packing meals for.” West’s life was deeply touched by the organization and her involvement with Food & Friends has been her personal way of giving back.

“My brother lost his battle with AIDS in 2004,” says West. “And then my step-brother, Howard Gasaway, developed throat cancer. Food & Friends helped my step-brother get the nutritious, pureed meals that he needed. He was a big bear of a guy, and the illness took a real toll on his body. It was so important to get him something nutritious.” West explains that he lives on in memory and in spirit. Her one year-old grandson shares not only Howard’s name but also his birthday.

“I know a lot of volunteers deliver the food, and they get to meet the clients. They see the impact of Food & Friends,” explains West. “I already saw that in my own family, so I’m usually in the kitchen, packing the meals.” But this year is different, this is the year West steps out as ambassador.

To West, there’s no question in her mind about wanting to reach out and help others. “It’s important to help people because you never know when you’re going to be the one who needs the help,” she states. “[Dining Out For Life] is such an easy way to make an impact,” says West. “Just go out and eat, and you’re raising money. I know plenty of people do it inadvertently because they’re just eating out. That’s how easy it is!”

Sonda West will be at Tabard Inn in Washington, DC during the lunch shift. Stop in and say hi, show your support, and fight HIV/AIDS.

Courtesy of the Dining Out for Life International Blog. Posted by on April 18, 2012.

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